Landlord/Tenant Responsbilities

Feeling in the dark about what your landlord is required to do and what responsibilities you have as a tenant? You don’t have to be! The Washington State Residential Landlord Tenant Act describes both of these topics in detail, but we’ve summarized them below:

Under the Landlord-Tenant Act, the TENANT is required to:

  • Pay rent and any agreed upon utilities.
  • Comply with all city, county, and state regulations.
  • Keep the rental unit clean and sanitary.
  • Properly dispose of garbage.
  • Pay for fumigation of infestations you cause.
  • Properly operate utilities and appliances.
  • Not intentionally or carelessly damage the dwelling.
  • Not engage in or allow any gang-related activity.
  • Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house.
  • Restore the rental to the same condition as when you moved in (except for normal wear-and-tear).

Under the Landlord-Tenant Act, the LANDLORD is required to:

  • Maintain the rental so that it does not violate state and local codes in ways that endanger your health and safety.
  • Maintain structural components (ex: roofs, floors, chimneys).
  • Keep your rental reasonably weather-tight.
  • Provide adequate locks and keys.
  • Provide garbage cans and arrange for removal of garbage (except for single family dwellings).
  • Provide utilities to supply heat, electricity, and hot/cold water.
  • Keep common areas (ex: lobbies, halls) reasonably clean and free of hazards.
  • Control pests before you move in and continue to control infestations except when that infestation is caused by you.
  • Make repairs to keep your rental in the same condition as when you moved in (except for normal wear-and-tear).
  • Keep utility systems and appliances in good repair.
  • Give you the name and address of the landlord/property manager.
  • Set water heaters at 120 degrees when you move in.
  • Provide working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you move in (although you are responsible for maintaining those detectors).


Law Advocates provides a free consultation service (first-come, first-serve) to low income renters each Friday. Consultation can include: information about tenant-landlord laws; document review and advice; representation; and negotiation with landlord's attorney. For information on this weekly clinic, click here.

If you want to research these topics in greater detail, the AS Legal Information Center, Northwest Justice Project’s Simplified Landlord-Tenant Act, and's Protecting Yourself as a Home Renter are great tools!

Page Updated 11.22.2017