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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.
TU Victory! This law exists because members of the Tenants Union worked together and fought for it. If you have benefited from this law, go to Tenants Union Membership to find out more about becoming a member to support the TU’s work for housing justice.
A statewide “slumlord accountability” law passed in 2005 guarantees relocation assistance for renters whose properties are shut down by local officials due to the landlord’s negligence. The relocation assistance is $2,000 or 3 times the rent, whichever is greater. Cities and counties also have the option of paying the assistance to families upfront to help prevent homelessness and relieve the burden on local service agencies, and then collect the cost from the property owner. Tenant relocation assistance is not triggered by natural disasters or “acts of God.” While relocation assistance is provided for by the law, it is important to note that actually collecting from the landlord can be extremely difficult. Speak to an attorney for more information on how best to proceed.
If you are the resident of a motel, hotel or other transient lodging for more than 30 days, for the purposes of this statue you are considered a tenant and are eligible to seek relocation assistance.
- City of Seattle Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance
- SMC 22.210
- SMC 206.260: Seattle Emergency Order
A Seattle relocation assistance law provides benefits for residential tenants within the city limits who will be displaced by housing demolition, substantial rehabilitation, change of use or removal of use restrictions on assisted housing. Benefits include payment of relocation assistance to low-income tenants and advance notice of the planned development. The SDCI may also issue an emergency order directing the housing to be vacated if there is an imminent threat to the health or safety of the occupants. Tenants who are required to vacate because of an emergency order are entitled to relocation assistance if they meet certain conditions. For more information, call the Department of Construction and Inspection.