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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.
Last Month’s Rent
Landlords will often collect first and last month’s rent upon move-in. This money can only be used for rent and is not considered a deposit. If the rental agreement does not specifically state how tenants should apply their last month’s rent, then it is up to tenants to communicate with their landlord on how to use it.
It is a good idea to send a letter the month you vacate asking your landlord to apply your last month’s rent. Keep in mind, however, that rent may be due by the first of the month, and tenants aren’t required to give notice to vacate until at least 20 days before the end of the rental period.
In cases where the tenant has already paid rent for the month in which they gave notice to vacate, they can ask their landlords for a refund of the last month’s rent payment. If the landlord does not comply, a tenant can write a demand letter for their money, or pursue Small Claims Court or other remedies for the return of the money.