The Seattle City Council passed an ordinance limiting move in costs for tenants on 12/11/16. The measure includes the following provisions:
The total amount of security deposits and non-refundable fees (including screening fees) is limited to a maximum of the amount of the first full month’s rent.
Other than non-refundable move-in fees, security deposits, and last month’s rent, landlords are prohibited from charging tenants any one-time fee at the beginning of the tenancy. (Think of HOA move in fees.)
If the tenant has paid a non-refundable move-in fee for cleaning, the landlord may not deduct additional cleaning fees from the tenant’s security deposit.
The total amount of non-refundable move-in fees may not exceed 10% of the first full month’s rent, unless actual screening costs exceeds this amount and the charges are customary, then the actual cost may be charged.
The tenant may elect to pay deposits and nonrefundable fees in equal payments, based on the length of the lease:
· Six month or longer lease –six equal monthly payments.
· Lease between 30 days and six months – four equal payments.
· Month-to-month tenancy – two equal payments. First payment due at inception of lease, second due on first day of third week of tenancy.
Tenant may also elect to pay pre-paid last month’s rent in increments.
· Six month or longer lease – six equal payments.
· Lease between 60 days and six months – four equal payments.
Pet deposit may be no more than 25% of first full month’s rent. This may be paid in three equal payments.
A landlord who includes provisions prohibited by the ordinance in a new rental agreement, or in a renewal of an existing agreement, shall be liable to the tenant for up to $3,000 plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.