Tenants may find themselves either sharing a living space with their landlord or living in the same building or unit as the property owner, manager or other agent of the landlord. Use caution when entering into a living situation where you will share living space with your landlord. These situations can quickly become very complicated. In order to make such a living arrangement work, you may want to review privacy laws and have clear rules spelled out in the rental agreement regarding the landlord’s expectations in terms of sharing common areas and other rules. Landlords living in buildings or units with their tenants have all the same duties under RCW 59.18.060 in the Landlord-Tenant Act. In shared living space, landlords do not have the right to restrict tenants’ access to the living space or common areas. Neither can they create arbitrary rule changes based on tenants’ behavior. When a tenant shares living space with their landlord, the rules of tenancy must be stated at the beginning of tenancy, either in the written rental agreement or a verbal rental agreement, just like any other landlord-tenant relationship. Landlords can change the rules if you are a month-to-month tenant, but the rule changes must be in writing with 30 days’ notice, and the rule must be reasonable. For more information on rule changes, see Rental Agreements.
Even if you share common space with your landlord, you still have the right to privacy in your bedroom and other areas designated as your private space. For more information on privacy laws, see Privacy Rights.
Tenants Union Tenant Counselors are not attorneys, and this information should not be considered legal advice. Please read our full Tenant Union Disclaimer.