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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.
Threats from Neighbors or the Landlord
In the case of serious threatening violence from one tenant towards another, there are additional protections in the Landlord-Tenant Act. The Act states that if a tenant is threatened by a neighbor with a firearm or other deadly weapon, and an arrest is made, and the landlord fails to evict that tenant within 7 days of the incident of violence, the threatened tenant can break their lease and move. If the tenant is threatened by the landlord with a deadly weapon, and an arrest results, the tenant has the right to break their lease and vacate the unit without any further obligation under the rental agreement. In either case, the tenant is not obligated to pay rent following the date they vacate the unit, and is entitled to a prorated refund of any rent they pre-paid. It’s a good idea to obtain a copy of the police report in order to document the situation. The tenant’s deposit should be evaluated for any damages above normal wear and tear, and a statement regarding the use of their deposit should be sent to them within 14 days. For more information, see Deposits.