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Cesar Uauy MBA 11/29/2012 Rental Law
In society today, the business of renting property has become a popular and smart investment for many people. Rentals provide a financial benefit to the landlord and forms of living with added bonuses for the tenant, for the landlords supply services and goods to the tenant that wouldn’t be provided as easily for a homeowner. With the business of renting come legal issues, which is the basis for rental laws. Composed of statutory law and common law, rental laws insure that the tenant and landlord practice fair dealings in the process of renting a residence. From forming the rental agreement to the specific duties of the landlords and tenants, rental laws govern the rental of “commercial and residential property” (Rental Laws). Each state has a different set of laws for governing these rentals, but generally the responsibilities of parties involved are similar amongst states. Looking at the state of Washington specifically, the Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act outlines the laws of renting property and handling situations associated with the relationship between landlords and tenants. The landlord-tenant affiliation is a legally bound relationship on the basis of both the contract and property law. Both parties have interest in the property for different reasons; the tenant wishes to possess the land for a certain amount of time and the landlord wishes to make a profit off the rental property. Each person has their own duties to uphold in the relationship and these are outlined in the rental agreement. These duties are bound by “common law or statutory law,” regulating the provisions listed on the lease (Rental Laws). The landlord has the authority
Uauy 2 to create the document although they must follow the general guidelines listed in the Washington Landlord-Tenant Act. This document is a legal contract that “establishes the conditions for use and occupancy of a residence” (The Washington-State Landlord-Tenant Act). These include forcing a tenant to do things outside their legal right. From installing smoke detectors precisely to notifying changes in mail and garbage procedures. while the term lease is almost always written and specifies a period of time in which tenant will vacate the residence. The terms in the rental agreement are never changed with the exception of a rent increase. Under the Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act. It is always the safest option when the law is involved to get things is writing. In order to outline the basic terms of tenancy. it is completely enforceable under the terms. The agreements can have two different components to it: month-to-month tenancy or a term lease. The month-to-month tenancy portion can either be oral or written. the landlord has a considerable amount of responsibility in the landlord- . The landlord then must give notice to the tenant within a certain period of time that there will be a change. the waiver of rights is meant to protect the rights of the tenant. the landlord must create a rental agreement. rental agreements should also include late fees. stating that the tenant will give notice when they will terminate the agreement. Once the rental agreement is created and signed. for the landlord has the majority of the legal responsibilities compared to the tenants. and restrictions of use of the property. but in general the landlord must perform maintenance work and provide items to the tenant. The document lists certain specifics that the landlord must check. As any other contract. permitting confiscation of property. The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act includes a “waiver of rights” that cannot be written in the agreement. and allowing the landlord to sue. the landlords are required to uphold certain responsibilities to the property and tenant. In general.
In most situations. where it connected with a driveway to the garage. and contact information are required. the landlord assumes total obligation for it. the lower east apartment. Some of the maintenance duties outlined are caring for the general premise of the property. such as maintenance and pest control. At the rear of their apartment was a door. Services. the landlord is required to perform total maintenance and pest removal if not already done so by the tenant. These facilities were used exclusively by the Schedlers and were not used in common with the other tenants. electrical and plumbing facilities. if the tenant causes a certain problem to occur. However. Wagner owns a four apartment building. are treated differently. porch. the landlord will usually take responsibility for the property. The LandlordTenant Act also specifies that the landlord provide both tangible items and services to the tenant during their occupancy. there is a short walk which goes to the right and obliquely to the rear. the landlord may not be liable to help. At the foot of the steps.Uauy 3 tenant relationship. and walk leading to Lidgerwood street. An interest case including to responsibilities of landlords refers to Roger Schelder vs Burt Wagner. Physical goods such as a house key. and two upstairs. For the most part. deposit receipts. onto the porch. onto the walk leading to . The building has two apartments down stairs. down the steps. One day Schelders wife took the trash out and had an accident. garbage cans. Although the tenant should take part in general maintenance procedures as well because they are the ones occupying the space. the tenant assumes responsibility for removal. steps. hot water. For instance. and structural components (Chapter 59. She went out of the door. by an oral month to month lease. At the time in question the Schedlers were leasing. if the residence is rented by a single family and mice become a problem. This is also the case if pests enter the residence due to the tenant.18 RCW). such as leaving food out or leaving doors open. They all have a common drive way.
The jury found for the plaintiffs and judgment was entered accordingly. a landlord has assumed the duty to remove snow and ice. then along the driveway to the garbage can. when landlords assumes the duty of cleaning such facilities of snow and ice. landlords need to fully understand their duties before get involved in maintenance issues and determine if it is their responsibility to fix the problem. Wagner testified that he did this from the beginning of the winter until the last snowfall assuring that he cleaned them after each snow whenever they needed cleaning. however. he removes the cover which exempts him from so doing where the accumulation is due to natural causes. striking her nose on the lower step. At the trial. With this in mind. a landlord is under no obligation to his tenants to remove or otherwise dispose of snow and ice which naturally accumulates upon leased premises. that it would thaw and freeze. that it was a regular pattern for the Wagners to do this work after each snowfall. the court instructed the jury that. The land lord cleaned the snow off of all the steps and walks around the house. he is then under a duty to remove such snow and ice if an accumulation of this nature renders the premises unsafe. and that as a proximate result of such failure Schedler was injured. . and then becomes liable to the tenants for his negligence in so doing. that where. which was located at the side of the garage.Uauy 4 Lidgerwood. their failure to use ordinary care in such performance. To emphasize. that he never saw anyone else clean them. ordinarily. She returned by the same route. He placed the responsibility upon the plaintiffs to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the assumption of such duty by the landlords. including these steps and walks used exclusively by the Schedlers. Schedler testified that all that winter neither she nor her husband cleaned the snow or ice from the steps or walks or any part adjacent to the house. Just as she turned from the oblique walk to go onto the porch she slipped on the ice and fell. and that he looked after it to the best of his ability. then obliquely to the right rear until she got to the driveway.
locking out a tenant. or retaliation (Chapter 59. Any of these things will be unfair to the tenant. but there have been plenty of issues with these laws when tenants disrespect the property or fall short of their responsibilities outlined in a rental agreement. If any of these actions occur. taking personal property. In general. a week-to-week or a month-to-month rental agreement is periodic rental agreement where the landlord can increase rent unless the agreement does not allows the change. if a tenant has exercised their legal rights in any situation and the landlord acts out in no reason. rent is not able to increase once the lease agreement is made.Uauy 5 There are certain things a landlord should not do in order to avoid potential legal problems. changes in rent can happen if the lease agreement allows it. These may seem like common sense. Many tenants have periodic rental agreements. Also. under the Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act. the landlord will be penalized. the landlord may be subject to fees and tenant damages. even if the tenant has committed a wrong themselves. Actions involved in retaliation include raising rent. . serving random eviction notices. the landlord should give at least 60 days advance notice. Change in rent is something that both parties need to be aware of. The written notice tells how much the increased rent is and when the increase takes effect. Rent should stay at a fixed amount until the lease agreement expires. Unfair landlord practices include shutting off water or electricity intentionally. The landlord must give proper advance written notice of the rent increase. On the other hand.18 RCW). The landlord must give at least 30 days' advance notice if the rent increase is 10 percent or less of the rent charged at any time during the 12 months before the rent increase takes effect. In the case of a larger increase. or reducing maintenance services. For example.
If the landlord suspects any of these suspicious behaviors and asks to enter the . Some of the responsibilities stated in the Landlord-Tenant Act include paying rent. The part about “guests” is also outlined in the tenant responsibilities section. such as unauthorized wall painting or damaged appliances. the two main things mentioned in the Act dealt with damages to the property upon leave. These issues are resolved in a case by case basis since each person and situation is different. Tenants and their guests shall not excessively. complying with the rules outlined in a rental agreement. One of the responsibilities that have a grey area is when the tenant leaves the residence permanently. there a short list of things that a tenant is not permitted to engage in. Regardless. graffiti.Uauy 6 Although the landlords have a large amount of responsibility in the landlord-tenant relationship. keeping the area clean. These obligations are not as involved as the landlords are. The tenant may believe that one stain on the floor may be small enough to clean up while the landlord believes the same stain is too large and will need to be completely replaced. As mentioned above. the tenants have a fair amount of duties as well. intentionally. but everything else is fair game. the majority of the tenant’s responsibilities are manageable to accomplish when renting. Things like stains. and disposing of trash properly. Reasonable wear and tear is acceptable. This provides some grey area when the landlord evaluates the residence. Like the landlords. All of these things are something that a reasonable person would able to complete as an occupant. The Act states that the tenant is expected to leave the place in the same or better condition than it was when at the beginning of the tenancy. or negligently damage any part of the property. No guests should be permitted on the property if they are a “nuisance” or engaging in drug related activities with or without the tenant (The Washington State LandlordTenant Act). and damaged fixtures seem to be judged according to each party’s understanding of what is fixable or not.
it is required that the rental agreement describe the conditions in which the deposit will not be refunded as . Tenants cannot act unreasonably if the landlord gives notice of coming to the residence. the deposit does not get refunded to the tenant. preferably in the form of writing. inspect an area. If either the landlord or tenant violates the terms of privacy outlined in the Landlord. then the owner has the authority to take action. Fines will be issued if this occurs as well as any other type of punishment of illegal activities. In Washington state. but if the property is harmed or affected in any way as a result from the activities of tenants. giving notice. The reasons could be to repair something. they have the right to report violations to outside offices in Washington. The purpose of providing a deposit is to insure that the tenant keeps the residence in good condition throughout the entire residency. When it comes to individual rights for society.Uauy 7 residence. The landlord is not personally liable for the behavior of the tenants. If the occupant leaves the rental a mess. especially if the landlord has a good reason for coming over. under certain conditions. Tenants are no different. renting or not. These deposits are refundable after the tenant vacates the rental under certain terms outlined in the rental agreement. privacy is something that is understood by all.Tenant Act. The only difference is that the landlords have the authority to enter the residence while the tenant is living there. They are entitled to the same amount of privacy as homeowners are. they both could face fees and other consequences for the violation of privacy. or show the dwelling to a buyer if the tenant is to vacate soon. They are not allowed to randomly barge in on the tenant without giving at least two days’ notice or receiving consent from the tenant. If a tenant believes they are being treated unfairly. the tenant cannot deny entrance. Landlords sometimes require that the tenant provide a deposit before moving into the rental.
it is up to the landlord’s discretion.Uauy 8 well as an inspection list showing the condition of the place before occupancy (Chapter 59. From personal experience. They are not required to notify the landlord beforehand although it is probably the smarter thing to do to avoid potential conflict. either the tenant moves voluntarily or the landlord terminates the tenancy. Ultimately. collecting deposits is a smart way to hold tenants accountable for keeping their unit in good condition. The entire amount does not have to be refunded. the tenant is not liable for damages and has the authority to contact a building department if there is a violation in a building code. renters tend to occupy a rental for a few years before they give notice of leave.18 RCW). although the courts may get involved if the landlord does not specify why the full amount is not refunded. but it does state that the repairs be done as soon as possible after the receipt of notice (The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act). If for some reason the landlord misses something needing repairs during an inspection. it can be for one of two reasons. though there have been a couple exceptions. As described earlier. The month-to-month agreement allows for the tenant or landlord to give a twenty day notice of . It is common for a rental unit to be occupied by a new tenant quite frequently. it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair any damages that the tenant is aware of. This can be especially helpful if there are disputes between the two parties. Deposits seem to benefit the tenant more than the landlord in the end because the courts would usually grant judgment in favor of the tenants. The law does not define a specific amount of time that the work be completed. The landlord should be notified by means of a written notice because anything written about an incident can be kept with the tenant’s records until the end of occupancy. When a tenancy is terminated. Recommended times to respond to complaints are between one and ten work days for anything other than an emergency. Regardless.
landlords should know who they are renting to and if they have a history of legal issues. the tenant is given three days to either pay or vacate the premises. the tenant and landlord must appear in court to protect their rights. Sometimes they renter’s personal belongings are moved outside the home and left there to be picked up. it is difficult to see an eviction through because typically the renter will never pay rent or damages if it goes to the courts. Although evictions do not favor the landlords sometimes. causing a nuisance. destruction of property. The last type of termination is when the landlord gives a short notice to the tenant. If the tenant does not cooperate with the landlord. The eviction process is not favorable for both the landlord and tenant. The tenant assumes responsibility for any damages they have caused the landlords as well as additional fees. This is why background checks are important before the landlord allows the lease agreement to be signed. the sheriffs become involved in the case and personally move the tenants out if they do not leave on their own (The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act). or ask the landlord for an extension. It is obtained by the landlord after a tenant refuses to leave. failure to correct a violation of the rental agreement. From personal experience.18 RCW). conducting illegal business or engaging in drug related activities (Chapter 59. the landlord has to deal with a lot of legal issues to receive payment and remove the tenant. then it brings reason for an eviction. If the landlords are found in favor of. the process is necessary if the tenants are consistently resistant to the landlord’s notices. Even though the tenant is the one at fault. The type of lawsuit served to a tenant is called an unlawful detainer. . Short notice can only be given by a variety of situations.Uauy 9 the leave and the term lease allows for the tenant to leave at the specified date in the agreement. Once any one of these events occurs. Once it is served. These situations are failure to pay rent.
While the state action was pending. an offer which had been rejected by Appellants one month before settling for that amount. there are state programs where they rent the property thru the state Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUB). In May of 2008.857. counsel for Appellants took unreasonable settlement positions and prolonged the litigation.485. In total the landlord had to pay $62.000 to Ingram and $2.485. With this in mind. In this case.000. For landlords that are not willing to take the risk of renting their property to unknown tenants.Uauy 10 Dealing with unlawful detainer is not an easy thing. Appellants moved for an award of attorney fees in the amount of $88. it could be very costly and harmful for their finances. Instead. Then. Armie Oroudjian rented his apartment to Cecil Ingram who is disable and confined to a wheelchair. An example includes Cecil Ingram and The Fair Housing Council vs Armine Oroudjian case. After learning Ingram succeeded in the unlawful detainer action. If they rush like in the previous case. including a motion for summary judgment. the case later settled for payments of $30. With an opening demand of $425. discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act and violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Following settlement.000 to the Fair Housing Council. it can be costly for landlords and there is the possibility of not getting the outcome they expect. Ingram's bank did not honor his rent check and the landlord initiated an unlawful detainer action against Ingram in state court. landlords have to be careful and reasonable with tenants. among other things. Ingram eventually prevailed in the unlawful detainer action and maintained possession of his apartment. Appellants filed this federal lawsuit alleging. the property is administered by the Public . To emphasize. forcing appelles to pursue litigation alternatives. The district court awarded $30. the district court strongly encouraged the parties to settle this case. according to the district court.50.
exceeds 30 percent of his household income. Each year. the landlord will still get a portion of the rent. and current and previous landlord. a landlord must pass a HUD quality inspection. the housing agency's main concern is checking that the applicant meets the income limits and other Section 8 eligibility requirements. Finally. with local and state regulations that govern traditional tenancies. HUD’s mission is to make rent affordable for tenants. landlords receive the portion of a tenant's rent that. safe. With this in mind. generally. Through Section 8. and sanitary housing. On the tenant side. Overall. HUD requires landlords to provide HCV tenants with decent. it is the landlord’s responsibility to check possible tenant’s history and make decisions based on that. no matter if the tenant misses some payments. The housing agency will provide landlords the number of people on the voucher. HUD must recertify the apartment. Some housing agencies will also share any other information they have. The termination process is made by the HUD which provides more security for landlords. With this in mind. the last benefit for landlords is that they do not have to deal with termination. The other part of the payment comes from vouchers that the HUB gives to tenants. To have her unit accepted as an HCV rental. project-based tenants in Washington State also have the right to get one year’s notice if the landlord is planning on opting out of the program in order to rent the units at market rate. Abandonment of a rental unit is a less common way to end a tenancy and has more laws regarding how it is to be handled. The rights that HUD landlords enjoy fall in line. This occurs when a tenant does not pay rent and has indicated . Also. However. in most cases. This gives tenant groups time to organize to preserve the long-term affordability of their building. Screening the tenant is the landlord's responsibility. current and previous address. and the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) commonly known as Section 8 voucher program.Uauy 11 Houses Authorities. It also provides opportunities for low income and disabled people.
the court determined that despite the fact that the landlord obtained a new tenant he was still entitled to damages for losses incurred as a result to the lessee being unable to fulfill the contract. the landlords have authority to remove the belongings into a secure storage and then notify the tenant of the location of the storage. the lessee placed with the landlord a security deposit in the form of liberty bonds that equals to $ 5000. If the tenant does not respond within a week. A landlord leases certain premises to a corporation. Siegley is an excellent example to illustrate the risk associated with abandoning a lease agreement. The landlord's claim in federal court to the bonds was denied and the lessee's trustee in bankruptcy filed an action to recover the bonds. The tenant is held liable in this situation for the balance of rent and fees upon abandonment and the landlord is then free to open the place up to another renter. Martin v. The take away in this case is that deposits can be made in more way than just cash. and if there is more left over. Throughout the process. In this particular case. Otherwise.Uauy 12 a possible leave. the landlord is free to sell the belongings as long as the value of the items is less than $50 (The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act). The issue then deals with the treatment of the tenant’s belongings. Pursuant to a lease. After the completion of a sale. Those damages should be deducted from the amount of the security deposit. the court of appeals . the landlord must wait forty-five days to sell the items. it is left for the tenant to collect within one year. abandonment seems to work out in favor of the landlords more than the tenants. The renter later became bankrupt and surrendered the premises to the landlord who rerented the premises to a third party. and that the amount of the deposits taken has to equal the damage caused to the landlord. In the state of Washington. On appeal. the landlord keeps the income. the money made must cover the costs of the missed rent. If the property is more than $50. The trial court entered a judgment in favor of the trustee and the landlord sought review.
The Better Business Bureau and the Dispute Resolution Center are examples of these places. Rental law covers a wide variety of topics. Whether it is on destructing property. As a strategic decision. With this in mind.Uauy 13 determined that if the damaged caused to the landlord was higher than $5000 then the case would be dismissed but if damages were less than the bonds value then the old tenant should receive the difference. and process does not take nearly as long as the courts would. the value those types of deposits will increase with time which is beneficial for the landlord. As described previously on the Shedler vs Wagner case the landlords consistency on performing duties he was not suppose to perform affected him on a monetary . Even though the courts get involved in disputes between landlords and tenants more often than not. that is not the only way to resolve an issue. As discussed previously. breaking those responsibilities can be very expensive for both parties. Volunteers form a judgment based on the landlords and tenants arguments. Finally. the landlord found a second tenant diminishing the damages caused by the abandonment of the first tenant. There are plenty of services offered in the state of Washington that provide arbitration and free mediation. landlords should perform only they legal duty and do not enforce extra activities for tenants. Landlords also need to understand the duty that they owe to tenants. loosing deposits. Fortunately for the first tenant. for each person has a fair amount of responsibilities to uphold in order to avoid legal issues. each of equal importance in the business of renting property. The relationship between landlords and tenants is very involved. The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act states that mediation and arbitration services should be strongly considered. dealing with abandonment the process of terminating a lease has it risks. businesses need to be careful at the time of offering stocks or bonds as deposits based on the future value that they might bring in the future.
Since his actions were consistent. the laws seem fair and just in protecting the rights of the landlords and tenants involved. In the end. If by chance legal action is necessary. .Uauy 14 way. the court determined he had an obligation to perform that duty holding him liable for the tenant accident. This is beneficial for both tenant and landlords diminishing the risk of dealing the costly situations. the courts can become involved and the laws are supported as written in the Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act. Another interesting point about rental law is that eliminates discrimination by the intervention of government agencies low income people are able to get involved in leases. This type of agreement is supervised by the HUD which pays for a portion of the rent and also deals with the legal issues.
2d 604 (1950) http://books. Web. Siegley .org/resources/pdf/WashLandlordTenantAct.aspx?cite=59. 10 Nov.com.getlegal.L. 1950 Wash.Uauy 15 Works Cited "Chapter 59.%20George%20Zufeldt%20et%20al.18 RCW: Residential Landlord-tenant Act. 674 (1923) Ingram v." Web. 2011 U.%20Johnson%20et %20al. 26 A. <http://apps.2d 612.com/legal-info-center/rental-laws>.S.%2C%20A ppellants.com/books?id=srMEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=H..1%20Landlord%20and%20Tenant&f=false . Cal.+George+Zufeldt+et+al.+Appellants..pdf>. LEXIS 453.%20A.%2C%20Respondents%2C%20v. 14 Nov. LEXIS 15399 (9th Cir. <http://housing.+Respondents.gov/RCW/default. 2011.1+Landlord+and+Tenan t&source=bl&ots=MldLDbn3by&sig=Uqg08VF0X27jomGiECrQ2SBGBbk&hl=en&sa= X&ei=7aW3UKGBajtiQKg_4G4DQ&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=H.+A. Wagner. "Rental Laws | Rental Lease Laws | Renting Laws | Attorneys | Lawyers | Law Firms.+v." Public Legal Information Center | GetLegal. 123 Wash. 212 P. "The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Act. 1923 Wash. 225 P. 2008. <http://public. 2011.+Johnso n+et+al.wa. Cornell Law School. 683. 1057. B.google. App. 2 Oct.R.3d 925. Web. 49 Am. Martin v. Oroudjian." Washington State Legislature. 647 F.R. 2011) Schedler v. LEXIS 790. 2011.2d 213.asuw. 37 Wn.18>. 10 Nov.leg.
aspx .Uauy 16 http://www.org/Tenant/Pages/LowIncomeHousingRights.solid-ground.
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