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About Tenant Services at Solid Ground
Topics on this page:
Solid Ground’s housing counseling services for tenants help families and individuals maintain permanent and reliable rental housing. Our services provide tenants with the resources and tools they need to prevent eviction and ensure housing stability. While we do not have attorneys on staff and cannot provide legal advice, we can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
Our Tenant Counselors Can Provide Information on:
- The Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act and other laws impacting renters
- How your rights can protect you as a renter
- Tenant and landlord responsibilities
- Laws regarding rule changes, rent increases, repairs and deposits
- Housing searches – where to look, how to apply and credit screening issues
- Resources available if you are a victim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation
- The eviction process – timelines and procedures
- Legal and community resources
Solid Ground is located in Seattle, but we work with tenants throughout King County and across Washington State. Tenant Services is part of our Stabilization Services department, and our housing counseling services for tenants are certified through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). We provide all of our services free of charge.
Solid Ground’s Tenant Services does not provide rental assistance. To find out if there are any rental assistance resources in your area, call Washington State 2-1-1 (also 206.461.3200, 1.800.621.4636 or 206.461.3610 for TTY/hearing impaired calls) or see our Renters’ Resources webpage.BACK TO TOP
Some Solid Ground Online Resources for Tenants:
Guide to Tenant Rights, Services, and Resources
Written by our Tenant Services staff, this booklet is packed with information and resources for tenants and is available in:
Understanding Landlord-Tenant Laws
Washington State laws governing residential tenancies are detailed in RCW 59.18, Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. Tenants within the City of Seattle have additional protections under Seattle Municipal Codes (Seattle Landlord-Tenant Law). Most cities also have local building code ordinances.
Just as important as knowing the law is knowing how to use it to protect yourself as a renter. With a few exceptions, landlord-tenant laws are considered “self help” – it is up to individual tenants to get their rights enforced. You cannot call the police if your landlord has refused to return your deposit or is unwilling to make a repair.
There is not an equal playing field between landlords and tenants. As property owners, landlords have access to financial and other resources that many tenants do not. Landlord-tenant laws are unfortunately currently not strong enough to adequately address all the needs of renters in the state. All housing problems can lead down the road to eviction, so be prepared to take action in order to protect yourself.
It’s up to you as a tenant to proactively take steps to ensure your rights are being respected by your landlord.BACK TO TOP
Tools for Tenants
1) Know Your Rights.
2) Document Everything.
3) Negotiate with Your Landlord.
4) Access Resources.
Best Practices & Tips for Renters
1) Document All Communications with Your Landlord in Writing.
2) Always Get Receipts for Money You Pay to Your Landlord.
3) Do Not Withhold Rent if Your Landlord is Not Making Repairs.
4) Document the Condition of Your Unit When You Move In and Move Out.
5) Eviction Always Requires a Court Process.
6) Protect Yourself by Verifying When You Move Out of a Unit.
7) Landlords Can Only Enforce Rules Written in the Lease.
8) There is No Rent Control in Washington State.
9) Tenants in Seattle and Burien Have Just Cause Eviction Protection.
10) Domestic Violence Survivors Have Additional Protections Under the Law.
11) Prioritize Paying Rent above Other Expenses.
12) Let Lawmakers Know How the Laws Need to Improve to Protect Renters.
FAQs: Landlord-Tenant Laws
Q: How can I file a complaint against my landlord?
Q: My landlord is violating landlord-tenant law. What can I do? How can I get my rights enforced?
Q: Does Solid Ground Tenant Services offer rental assistance?
Q: How can I document communication with my landlord?
Q: I don't have a mailing address for my landlord. How do I contact them?
Tenant Education Webinars and Advocacy
Tenant Education Webinars
Solid Ground’s Tenant Services offers educational webinars to help Washington state renters understand their rights under state landlord/tenant law. These include Rent Smart webinars in English and Spanish offered twice a month in collaboration with the King County Library System. Please see the schedule below and use the links to register.
Solid Ground’s Tenant Counselors are also available to offer educational webinars on Washington State landlord-tenant laws and other topics related to ensuring successful tenancies. Contact us at email@example.com if your group, organization or community would benefit from this training.
Want to make Landlord-Tenant laws work better for tenants? Your story can help! Solid Ground’s Tenant Services Advocates work with lawmakers to protect and expand the rights of renters. Help us change costly screening and application fees, wrongful evictions, discrimination and other housing barriers. Real-life stories make a significant impact on lawmakers. We can help you share your story in order to change the laws.
To learn more about how you can share your story, contact Tenant Services at 206.694.6748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.BACK TO TOP