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Also in During Your Tenancy
- Just Cause Eviction Protection
- Rental Housing Inspection
- Rental Agreement Regulation
- Seattle Utility Billing
- Housing & Building Maintenance
- Tenant Relocation Assistance
- Right to Organize
- Seattle Noise Laws
- Condo Conversion
- Fair Housing in Seattle
- Seattle Tenant Resources
- Rent Increase Prohibition - Units with Major Code Violations
- Seattle Laws FAQ
Before using this information, please read:
To read the specific laws in the WA State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, click on the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) links throughout the Tenant Services website.
Tenants Union Tenant Counselors are not attorneys, and this information should not be considered legal advice. Please read our full Tenant Union Disclaimer.
Housing & Building Maintenance
- SMC 22.206.160: Duties of owners
- SMC 22.206.180: Prohibited acts by owners
- SMC 22.206.140 Minimum Security Standards
- SMC 22.202.010: Enforcement authority
- Seattle Laws Regarding Building Maintenance and Repair
The Seattle Housing and Building and Maintenance Codes establish further requirements for landlords and tenants in the city limits. It also sets minimum standards for providing adequate heating in rented housing units. Seattle tenants can report code violations to the DPD and they will send inspectors out to take a look at the problem and follow up with the landlord. The DPD Landlord Complaint Line phone number is 206-615-0808, or you can file a report online at Filing A Complaint.
The Maintenance code also defines acts by owners that are prohibited in the city of Seattle and may be considered to be harassment or retaliation against the tenant. They include changing the locks in a unit, removing doors, shutting off utilities, self-help evictions, entering without proper notice, evicting or increasing the rent of a tenant who reports code violations to the DPD. Seattle Police Department, not the DPD, has the authority to enforce this section of the code, but still often do not get involved in landlord-tenant matters. You can still call the non-emergency police number at 206-625-5011 and show them a copy of the law (SMC 22.202.010). The Housing and Building Maintenance Code also prohibits certain behaviors by tenants. It is unlawful for a tenant to harass an owner or retaliate against an owner by changing the locks on the unit, intentionally damaging the unit or removing appliances or fixtures supplied by the landlord.
The Seattle Housing and Building and Maintenance Codes also specifically entitle Seattle tenants to the right to organize in their buildings. See Right to Organize for more information.