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Washington Rental Lease Agreement | Laws

A Washington lease agreement is a legally binding document that authorizes a tenant to occupy residential or commercial real estate. The bulk of residential leases will be fixed-term contracts that cannot be modified until the expiration of the rental term. For a more flexible rental arrangement, the landlord and tenant might wish to instead create a month to month lease that can easily be terminated or altered by providing sufficient notice.

Rental Application – Completed by lease applicants to submit their personal information to landlords and to authorize a background check.


Agreements: By Type (7)

Commercial Lease Agreement – Permits a tenant to occupy a commercial space for the purpose of operating a business. The lease will run as a fixed-term contract that typically lasts three (3) to five (5) years.

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College Roommate Agreement – A contract used when multiple students live together in a shared dwelling. The agreement defines each occupant’s responsibilities and states certain rules such as quiet hours and the number of allowable guests.

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Lease with Option to Purchase (Lease to Own) – Combines a standard lease with a real estate purchase agreement. The tenant has the option of purchasing the property if certain conditions and contingencies are met.

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Month to Month Lease Agreement (§ 59.18.200) – A short-term rental contract that guarantees tenancy in a residential dwelling for one (1) month. The contract will renew upon the start of each subsequent month unless the parties decide to terminate the contract by issuing a twenty (20) day notice to quit or notice of intent to vacate.

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Roommate Agreement – Defines the rental conditions for a tenant who shall occupy a bedroom located in a shared residential property.

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Standard (1-year) Lease Agreement – Sets forth the rights and responsibilities of both a landlord and tenant for a fixed-term residential tenancy.

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Sublease Agreement – Leaseholders may use this agreement to rent all or a portion of their rental property to another party for a temporary period. The new tenant (the “sublessee”) will occupy the leased space; the initial tenant (the “sublessor”) will still be responsible for the condition of the property and any other issue that may arise.

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Landlord-Tenant Laws


Mold Information (§ 59.18.060(13)) – Upon signing a lease or rental agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant with a document that describes the dangers of mold and how mold growth can be controlled. The document given to the tenant must be in a written format approved by the Department of Health.

Fire Safety Information (§ 59.18.060(12)) – Landlords must disclose fire safety and protection information to all tenants upon entering into a rental agreement. The written disclosure must state that the dwelling is equipped with proper smoke detection devices and it must describe the penalties for failing to maintain such devices. Additional fire information such as an evacuation plan and smoking policies must be provided to tenants of multi-family residential dwellings.

Landlord and Agent Information (§ 59.18.060(15)) – Tenants must be informed of the name and address of the landlord. If the landlord does not reside in Washington, the tenant must also be given the name and address of the person authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf. This information may either be included in the written lease or posted in a conspicuous location on the premises.

Move-In Checklist (§ 59.18.260) – If a security deposit is collected from a tenant, the landlord must provide the individual with a written checklist or statement describing the condition of the leased premises.

Landlord’s Access

General Access (§ 59.18.150(6)) – Two (2) days’ notice is required for general access. If the landlord wishes to show the property to prospective tenants or purchasers, only one (1) day’s notice is necessary.

Emergency Access (§ 59.18.150(5)) – The landlord may enter without notice in the case of emergency or abandonment.


Grace Period – Not mentioned in state statutes.

Maximum Fees ($) – Not mentioned in state statutes.

Rent Increase Notice (§ 59.18.140(3)) – Sixty (60) days’ notice must be given for rent increases, and the increase may not become effective until the completion of the rental agreement. In the case of a government-subsidized tenancy, landlords must provide at least thirty (30) days’ notice, and the increase may not become effective until the end of the rental term unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties.

Security Deposits

Maximum Amount ($) – Not mentioned in state statutes.

Returning to Tenant (§ 59.18.280(1)) – The deposit must be returned within twenty-one (21) days after the termination of the tenancy or abandonment of the premises by the tenant.

Interest Required? (§ 59.18.270) – The landlord is entitled to any interest earned from the deposit unless otherwise agreed upon in writing.

Separate Bank Account? (§ 59.18.270) – Security deposits must be held in a trust account that is maintained by the landlord for the sole purpose of holding security deposits.