Tacoma's Rental Housing Code Becomes Effective

Posted By: Brett Waller Advocacy News,

Beginning Friday, February 1, new landlord-tenant laws take effect for properties

in the City of Tacoma only.

Jump to Information required at the initiation of the tenancy, and Information and notice requirements to terminate a tenancy.  

 A copy of the ordinance can be found here

First, all rent increases require 60 days notice. This piece of the law became effective December 6, 2018. This means that if you intend to send a renewal offer to a resident that includes a rent increase, the offer must be delivered at least 60 days before the effective date of the rent increase notice. 

The following laws become effective February 1

Provide a website link with the screening criteria. At the time of application and with the rental criteria, property managers must provide applicants with a link to a dedicated website hosted by the city. The website is: http://www.cityoftacoma.org/rentalhousingcode

The website includes information about the property, including information about code violations, and enforcement information, as well as the website address for the Washington Secretary of State for purposes of providing voter registration information. 


Provide an "Information for Tenants" Packet.  Within 30 days of the Packet becoming available, property managers must provide a copy to all residents in written form.  The property manager should obtain a signature acknowledging receipt.  If the resident refuses or is unavailable, the property manager may draft a declaration stating when and where the landlord provided the Packet. 

  • At the initiation of the tenancy, the Packet must be provided with the lease
  • The Packet must be provided annually and may be provided electronically
  • The packet will be available February 1

The Information Packet can be found here

Installment payments for move-in fees. Upon the applicant's written request, the security deposit, non-refundable move-in fees and/or last month's rent may be paid in installment payments.  Move-in fees do not include the application fee required to obtain the tenants screening report. 

  • If last month's rent is not charged, and the other move-in fees charged do not exceed 25% of the first full month's rent, installment payments are not permitted.
  • In tenancies three months or longer, the applicant may pay the move-in fees in three consecutive equal monthly installments. 
  • In month-to-month tenancies, the applicant may pay the move-in fees in two equal installments, the first payment due at the inception of the tenancy, and the second due the first day of the second month. 

Provide a resource summary with any 3-day, 10-day or Notice to Terminate.  A resource summary, prepared by the city, must be provided when any Notice to Comply or Notice to Terminate is served to a resident. 

  • The Resource Summary will be available on February 1. 

The resources can be found here in the Information Packet after page 29.  

Termination of the tenancy.  For any no cause termination notice, the property manager must provide at least 60 days notice of the intent to terminate.  Notices exempt from this section include 3-day notice to pay or vacate, 10-day notice comply.

  • Whenever the property owner intends to substantially renovate, demolish, or change the use of a rental property, the property manager must provide at least 120 days notice to terminate the tenancy prior to the end of the lease period. 
  • Notices served under this section must include the name of the resident(s) and the unit number of the home being terminated.  Service must be documented by affidavit or declaration of the person providing the notice.  If the notice is sent by mail, the notice is deemed complete when mailed. 
  • For 120-day termination notices only, the resident may request a meeting with the property manager.  If the resident makes the request, the meeting must occur within 20 days of the request at a time, date and location convenient to both parties. 

Tenant Relocation Assistance.  Whenever the property owner intends to substantially renovate, demolish, or change the use of a rental property, the property manager must also provide a Tenant Relocation Assistance Packet.  Packets can be obtained from the city.   

  • Within 20 days of delivering the packets, the property manager must provide the name and unit number of each resident. 
  •  If residents qualify for relocation assistance (the combined income of residents must be less than 50% of the Area Median Income), within 21 days of notice from the city, the property owner must pay the resident $1,000. 

Penalties and Enforcement.

  • For most violations, a penalty can be $500 per unit for the first violation and $1000 per unit for subsequent violations within 3 years.
  • For violations of notice to vacate provisions, tenant relocation requirements or retaliation penalty can be $250 per day per unit and $500 per day per unit after 10 days.