can i get a little privacy here?
August 26, 2007 1:33 PM   Subscribe

What are a tenant's legal rights in Washington state?

I'm moving from Southern California to the Seattle area very soon, so I'm going through the process of looking for an apartment online.

In addition to various listings sites, I've also been using a review site to get some opinions from people who've lived there. Of course these sites can be skewed at times since the motivation to log in and write something after being angry at a manager because your dog pooped on the carpet and he charged you for it winds up being much greater than having the most peaceful and greatest time of your life.

However, I've noticed a review on a potential prospect mentioning that you should "Not expect any privacy because the complex will search your apartment once a month to make sure your following the rules"

Com'on now... I don't know about Washington, but in California thats illegal. Unless your given prior notice or it's stated in a contract you've signed waiving your rights... they can't just go rummaging through your stuff can they? Thats more than a bit creepy!

Anyway... just curious in general what differences there are between California and Washington for tenant's legal rights.
posted by vitrum to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I live in Washington State. I'm not sure what the rules are but in most states landlords can enter the property if they have a good reason with reasonable notice. That doesn't include rummaging through your stuff but it does include walkthroughs. However, I've *never* heard of anyone living with regular walkthroughs/searches -- avoid that kind of place! Even if it's within their rights, you don't want to live in a place with that attitude toward their tenants.
posted by proj at 1:55 PM on August 26, 2007

I think this is the relevant law. I would think that proj is correct that they can't go through your stuff, but there doesn't appear to be any specific mention of that in the law. You might call this hotline and ask.

Also, I probably wouldn't rent there if I were you.
posted by thinman at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2007

Oh, and apparently in Washington, you can't sign your tenant's rights away.
posted by thinman at 2:09 PM on August 26, 2007

in washington state it's required by law that the landlord gives you a copy of the rights and laws for tenants and landlords. i know that doesn't help now, but just so you know when you move in they have to give you that information in printed form. i seem to remember that 24 hour notice was required before being able to enter. once a month to follow rules is insane, find somewhere else, even if that is legal.
posted by andywolf at 10:30 PM on August 26, 2007

Right of Entry

In general, with tenant consent, a landlord has a right of entry to inspect the premises; make repairs; supply necessary or agreed services; or show the property to potential tenants, purchasers or contractors. Entry is limited to reasonable times, and two days' notice of intent to enter is required. A landlord may enter the premises without the tenant's consent if an emergency or abandonment occurs, or if the landlord obtains a court order. A landlord may not abuse his or her right of access to the premises to harass a tenant.
posted by ND¢ at 10:05 PM on August 27, 2007

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