Welcome to Renting in Seattle! This web site aims to provide comprehensive information and resources on rental regulations in the City of Seattle as well as tips and best practices for successful renting. Whether you are a renter or a housing provider, there is a lot to know.

Seattle requires that landlords provide the summary of landlord-tenant laws published by the City, every time a tenant applies to rent, signs or renews a rental agreement, annually to month-by-month tenants and whenever the City updates the summary.

Introducing our New Renter's Handbook!

Renter's Handbook CoverThe handbook replaces the old summary 'Information for Tenants'. Our goal is to make the rental process, and the rights and obligations of the rental community, clear and accessible. The handbook is organized as a companion to this web site. You can find information in the table of contents organized across the various stages in the rental cycle or search for a specific term in the index at the back.  

We designed the handbook based on decades of experience in handling landlord/tenant issues and the invaluable input from community stakeholders, and colleagues across the many City departments that touch on rental housing. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and City office closures we are currently unable to distribute printed copies. Until such time as we have a safe way to distribute printed copies, you can download our printer-friendly version of the Renter's Handbook.

It's also available in Amharic Chinese(Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Khmer Korean Lao Oromo Russian Somali Spanish Thai Tigrinya Vietnamese.

Currently, due to the impacts of COVID-19, there are temporary orders both statewide and in Seattle which affect rental regulations. Scroll down for more information.  This page is updated regularly. Check out our resource pages for both renters and housing providers and keep up to date on our news and events page.

Eviction Moratorium Extended until January 15, 2022

Mayor Durkan extended Seattle's eviction moratorium for the sixth time today. Residential evictions remain banned in Seattle until January 15, 2022, unless an imminent threat to life and safety exists. Read the Mayor's eviction moratorium announcement.

Mayor Durkan proposed legislation to allocate rent and utility relief funds of $22.7 million as follows:

  • $8.0 million to the United Way of King County to provide rental assistance  
  • $7.0 million to provide rental assistance on behalf of tenants residing in publicly-subsidized rent and income-restricted affordable housing  
  • $6.2 million to community-based organizations to target rental assistance for BIPOC communities
  • $1.5 million to provide emergency utility assistance to income qualified renters through Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities programs

Rental assistance funds are available. Visit King County's eviction prevention web page and United Way's site for rent help.

Income-eligible customers can apply to the Utility Discount Program and receive a 60% discount on Seattle City Light electricity bills and a 50% discount on Seattle Public Utilities water/sewer/garbage bills. Customers can check for eligibility and apply here check for eligibility and apply here or call (206) 684-0268. Payment plans can be arranged by submitting payment plan requests online to Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities.

Summary of Current State and City Eviction Moratoria

The following is a summary of both State and City eviction protections for renters in Seattle impacted by COVID-19. Click on the links to read the complete moratoria orders.  

  • The moratoria are both in effect until September 30, 2021 and may be subject to further extension.
  • Both the City and the State moratoria provide an exception when the tenant causes an imminent threat to health and safety of others.
  • The State eviction moratorium also allows for the following exceptions:
    • Imminent threat to the property of others
    • Owner intends to sell or occupy the property as a primary residence
  • Types of tenancies protected by the moratoria are expanded to include leased lots for motor homes, camping sites, transitional housing, and motels, hotels, or Airbnbs where someone has resided for 14 days or more. Tenancies that expire during the moratoria are also covered.
  • Landlords must not threaten eviction or harass a tenant for non-payment. Landlords may communicate with tenants about payment plans, financial resources, and the balances on their rental accounts.
  • Late fees for rent and other charges are prohibited effective February 29, 2020.
  • Landlords must offer a payment plan for debt accrued after February 29, 2020. Failure to do so is a defense to an eviction. The State moratorium requires the payment plan to be reasonable based on the tenant's individual circumstances.
  • Security deposits cannot be used for unpaid rent or rent-related charges accrued after February 29,2020.
  • Landlords cannot charge a tenant who failed to occupy a rental unit due to COVID-19.  

For more information and COVID-19 rental housing-related resources, please see:

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