Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) require a permit. There may be additional requirements depending on the location.  A legal ADU must have one of its units occupied by the property owner, usually as a permanent and principal residence. If permitted as an ADU, if the owner moves out, s/he may not rent out both units to tenants.

In Seattle, if an owner is discovered to be renting out a unit in an illegal duplex, if the property cannot obtain the required permit, the city will force the landlord to evict the tenants and remove the second kitchen. Stiff fines can be levied for non-compliance.  If a notice of code violation is received and the problem isn’t fixed in a timely manner, the city may impose fines between $150 to $500 a day with additional fines for violations in single-family zones.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

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But It’s MY house, isn’t it?

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MAKING SENSE OF SEATTLE RENTAL REGULATIONS?

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.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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TENANT BANKRUPTCY

If a tenant files bankruptcy and includes rent in the action, an “automatic stay” goes into effect. This means that no legal action can be taken against the tenant without the permission of the bankruptcy court. Even if an eviction action has already been started, the property cannot be recovered without the approval of the bankruptcy court and this can be an extended process.

Pre-screening prospective tenants is extraordinarily important.  Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

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DEFINE A “LANDLORD”

The Washington State Landlord Tenant Act defines the landlord as anyone designated as a representative of the owner, including, but not limited to, an agent, resident manager or property manager.  The landlord is required to provide a mailing address either in the lease or prominently displayed at the rental property.  The law further requires any landlord who resides outside of the state to have a designated representative within the county where the rental property is located.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

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SELLING A RENTAL WITH TENANT?

More than just title needs to be transferred at closing if the transaction is regarding a tenant occupied property.  Both funds and information need to be transferred:

  • Tenant deposits, including pet or cleaning deposits

  • Prepaid rent, including last month’s rent deposit

  • Proration of monthly rent, if closing is mid-month

  • Tenant lease

  • Move in inspection report

  • Tenant ledger

  • Tenant contact information

  • Keys – easy to forget since the buyer isn’t taking possession

When ready to vacate, the tenant will be credited all deposits and pre-paid rent, per what is recorded in the lease, regardless of whether those funds were transferred at closing.  If the move in inspection report is not transferred, the buyer will not be able to charge the vacating tenant for any cleaning or damages.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.

 

 

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Criminal History & Tenant Screening

Washington State’s Attorney General’s office has indicated that when screening rental applicants, treating criminal history as cause for an automatic denial is discriminatory.  The AG’s office has filed against a Tacoma property management company because they told a prospect that a felony conviction would be an automatic denial. According to the court decree, the issue is that the applicant was denied without considering, “when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed or what the applicant had done since the conviction.”

Having to consider the circumstances of a particular applicant’s criminal history appears to be contradictory to the 2012 Fair Tenant Screening Act.  This act requires that landlords apply the same screening criteria to all applicants. Be cautious if denying an applicant due to criminal history!

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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