Stay Housed: Tenant & Landlord Education

Staying Housed

Fair Housing Act & Landlord-Tenant Law Resources

There are two sets of laws that protect tenants and landlords and define the basic framework of responsibilities between people who enter a landlord-tenant relationship. Fair Housing Laws pertain to how a rental is advertised and how a tenant is chosen. If a rental is posted in a public venue (online or physical space), it is subject to Fair Housing Act laws. Landlord-Tenant Act laws apply to the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords once they have entered into a rental agreement. Both sets of laws are critical to ensuring equal housing opportunity, safe living environments, and a basic framework for landlord-tenant interactions.

Housing Solutions Network does not assist with, address, or offer advice related to potential violations of these laws, this is simply a list of informative resources.

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Local Rental Laws

Rent Increases

In 2022 Port Townsend adopted ordinance 3297 requiring specific terms of notice for all rent increases within the city limits. 

Notices to Vacate

In the 2021 WA legislative season, new laws were passed to help keep people housed. including requirements that landlords must now have a “good” reason for making a tenant leave, or for failing to renew a lease. There are different amounts of notice time that landlords must give depending on the reason. Here are some of the most common scenarios, but note that these don’t apply to all tenants. Refer to Washington Law Help for guidance.

  • A landlord is required to give a tenant 90 day notice if they decide to sell the rental.
  • A landlord is required to give a tenant 120 day notice if they plan to demolish or renovate the rental.
  • A landlord is required to give 90 day notice if they or their
    immediate family needs to move into the rental unit.

Generally, a tenant is required to give 20 days notice that they intend to leave a rental.

Eviction Moratorium

The Washington State eviction moratorium ended on June 30, 2021 and the CDC moratorium is no longer in place. Governor Inslee issued a “bridge” proclamation to provide some statewide eviction protections until October 30st, 2021. 

In Jefferson County, our Superior Court has adopted the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program, which is designed to help landlords and tenants resolve matters together, rather than engaging in official eviction proceedings through the court. Our court system is requiring that:

  • Landlords give tenants official notice about local rent assistance, mediation and legal assistance resources. These resources are also listed below.
  • Landlords make an effort to engage with tenants about rental repayment before filing the official eviction paperwork (unlawful detainer action) with the court.
View the Mandatory Eviction Resolution Pilot Program Scenarios flowchart, effective November 1st 2021.

Prevent Future Eviction

Tenants, if you get an official notice like this, inviting you to participate the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program, you need to respond to your landlord within 14 days, indicating that “YES” you would like to negotiate a reasonable repayment plan and avoid eviction. If you do not respond, your landlord will be able to start the eviction process with the court system once the CDC moratorium and statewide eviction protections end.

Click on the image to be redirected to the City of PT Municipal Code. Additional Questions? Contact Code Compliance Officer KT LaBadie at klabadie@cityofpt.us or call City Hall at (360) 379-5094

Other updates to Landlord Tenant Laws​

Check out this new Interactive Summary of Landlord Tenant Laws, which covers the Bridge Proclamation and the new tenant protections created by HB1236 and SB5160

Housing Assistance

Rental Assistance

OlyCAP is administering federal and state rent assistance funds through the Treasury Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP). Landlords and tenants can visit OlyCAP’s Housing Services webpage to learn about the program qualifications, to find the required documents, and to apply for OlyCAPs rent assistance online. Rent assistance is meant to help everyone, no matter what your citizenship or immigration status. Applying for rent assistance will not harm any immigration application you file. 

Dispute Resolution

The Peninsula Dispute Resolution Center is a 501c3 non-profit specifically serving Jefferson and Clallam Counties. Through their Community Housing Stability Program (CHSP), they offer free mediation and conflict coaching sessions as an alternative to the courtroom. Their services include negotiating a payment plan, agreeing on a vacate date and other housing related disputes. 

Legal Assistance

You can read the latest legal information on eviction prevention and link to legal resources on the Washington Law Help website. Visit the “Can my landlord evict me now” page for answers to frequently asked questions.If your landlord is threatening to evict you, it is important to get legal help right away.

You may qualify for free legal aid. Contact: 

Even If you do not qualify for free legal aid, Washington Law Help publishes forms, packets, and checklists to help people navigate the legal process; here are a few:

Lastly, there are changes in Washington’s landlord tenant law that went into effect July 1, 2021. Eviction for any reason other than not payment of rent must now follow specific rules and notification periods. To learn more about the new statewide “just cause” protections, visit the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s Eviction Process Overview page.

Home Repairs for Low Income Home Owners

  • Real Estate Professionals for Affordable Housing (REPAH) provides funding for home repairs. Low income home owners who need assistance to keep their homes livable can fill out the REPAH Application. Recent repairs include septic, bathroom repairs, water heaters, windows, wheel chair ramps, grab bars, roofing repairs and water leaks. REPAH has a maximum repair budget of $2500 for each home owner.
  • Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County provides home repair assistance through a no-interest loan to residents of Quilcene and Brinnon who meet their criteria.
  • Olycap offers a home repair and weatherization program for qualifying houses through a deferred loan program.

Home Purchase Assistance

Below is a list of local, regional, statewide and national funding and lending resources. The list is not exhaustive, nor is it an indication that your project will be a fit. We encourage you to research each funding source and work with their team to determine if you should apply.

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