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Landlord and Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Posted by Quinn Posner | Dec 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Under Washington law, there are specific maintenance duties imposed upon a landlord and certain times in which the landlord is required to make those repairs.

With the help of experienced landlord/tenant attorney Quinn Posner, you as the landlord can rest assured that you are following Washington law while maintaining your properties.

Timelines for Maintenance

Except where a condition is attributable to normal wear and tear, landlords are required to make repairs and arrangements necessary to keep the conditions of the rental property as required by law.

If a tenant submits a notice requesting a repair, the landlord must fix the situation as soon as reasonably possible, but the landlord may not take longer than the following timelines (except in situations in which the landlord, in good faith, could not make the repair in time).

Heat, Water, and Imminent Hazards

Within 24 hours, a landlord must fix a defective condition which results from:

  • A lack of hot or cold water;
  • A lack of heat;
  • Non-functional electricity; or
  • Any defective condition that is imminently hazardous to life.

Defective Appliances

Within 72 hours, a landlord must fix a defective condition which results from the use of a refrigerator, range, oven, water heater, or other major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord. An appliance that is brought in by the tenant is not subject to this requirement. Appliances brought in by a tenant is the tenant's responsibility in most cases.

All Other Cases

In all other cases, a landlord is required to effectuate a repair within 10 days of the tenant's written request. The notice must be written for these deadlines to apply according to RCW 59.18.070.

Burden of Repair

Under the law, the burden of repair is on the landlord to complete the remedial work as soon as possible. In situations where a landlord is not able to make the repair in the allotted time, he or she cannot be punished when circumstances outside of the landlord's control cause the delay. This can include a lack of financing for the repair.

However, the landlord is still expected to make the repair as soon as possible. If you have questions regarding how quickly you must make a certain repair, an experienced landlord attorney can help.

Landlord Failure to Repair

If the landlord fails to remedy the situation within the proper time without a proper excuse, there are penalties which may be imposed. The tenant can deduct the cost of any repair he or she had to make from the rent. However, the deduction may not exceed the equivalent of two months' rent in a 12-month period. 

If the tenant is able to perform the repair him or herself (without hiring someone) he or she can deduct the time and cost for repair from rent, but not to exceed the equivalent of one month's rent.

Consult a Washington Landlord/Tenant Attorney

If you are a landlord in the state of Washington and have questions about whether your maintenance process complies with Washington law, or if you need assistance in dealing with a tenant who is causing damage to your rental properties, you do not have to go it alone.

Experienced landlord/tenant attorney Quinn Posner represents clients in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, and the rest of Clark County. Contact Quinn Posner today to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Quinn Posner

Location: Vancouver, Washington Phone: 360-524-4767 Fax: 360.326.1913 As a former Clark County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and in-house insurance defense attorney for a large international insurance company, litigation is my passion. That is why I have chosen personal injury and eviction law to focus my practice on.


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