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New Grace Period Before Late Fees Maybe Imposed Upon Washington State Residential Tenants.

HOUSE BILL REPORT ESHB 2535

Brief Description:  Providing for a grace period before late fees may be imposed for past due rent.

Summary

  • Prohibits a landlord from charging late fees for past due rent unless the rent is at least five days past due; however, if the rent is more than five days past due the landlord may charge late fees commencing from the first day after the due date until paid and the landlord may serve a notice to pay rent or vacate at any point after the rent becomes due.
  • Provides that in certain circumstances a tenant may propose and, a landlord must allow, that the rent due date be altered.

Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.

The Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA), Chapt. 59.18 RCW, regulates the relationship between residential landlords and tenants, defines terms, and includes provisions regarding the duties of tenants and landlords, as well as remedies for violations of those duties.  With some statutory exceptions, the rental of a dwelling unit for living purposes is generally covered under the RLTA.  “Dwelling unit” is a structure or that part of a structure which is used as a home,

Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

The Residential Landlord-Tenant Act is amended to provide that a landlord may not charge late fees for past due rent unless the rent is at least five days past due.  If the rent is more than five days past due, the landlord may charge late fees commencing from the first day after the due date until paid.  A landlord is not prohibited from serving a notice to pay rent or vacate at any time after the rent becomes due. 

A rental agreement may not include a provision pursuant to which the tenant agrees to pay late fees for rent that is paid within five days following its due date; however, if rent is more than five days past due, the landlord may charge late fees commencing from the first day after the due date until paid and a landlord is not prohibited from serving a notice to pay rent or vacate at any time after the rent becomes due.

When late fees may be assessed after rent becomes due, the tenant may propose that the date rent is due in the rental agreement be altered to a different due date of the month.  The landlord shall agree to such a proposal if it is submitted in writing and the tenant can demonstrate that his/her primary source of income is a regular, monthly source of governmental assistance that is not received until after the date rent is due per the rental agreement.  The proposed due date may not be more than five days after the date the rent is due in the rental agreement.  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a tenant from making a request for reasonable accommodation under federal, state, or local law.

Effective Date:  The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.

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