Tenants who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or unlawful harassment have protections under the Landlord-Tenant Act and Domestic Violence Prevention Act. The law offers specific definitions for each of these:
- Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or psychological) used by someone to control an intimate partner. It is physical harm, injury or assault, or the fear of imminent physical harm, injury or assault, between family or household members, past or current intimate partners, or people who have a child together (RCW 26.50.101).
- Sexual Assault is any unwanted physical or verbal sexual contact (RCW 70.125.030).
- Stalking is intentional and repeated harassment or following of another person that causes them fear for their safety, the safety of another person, or of their property (RCW 9A.46.110).
- Unlawful Harassment is a pattern of intentional behavior that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses. This behavior must cause significant emotional distress, or cause a reasonable person to fear for the well-being of their child (RCW 10.14.020. Unlawful harassment also includes any request for sexual favors a landlord asks for from a tenant in return for performance of the landlord’s duties (RCW 59.18.570).
If you a survivor of violence, or are concerned that you may have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or unlawful harassment, call the Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-562-6025 for support and resources. You can also get assistance from Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Tenants Union Tenant Counselors are not attorneys, and this information should not be considered legal advice. Please read our full Tenant Union Disclaimer.