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Landlord & Tenant Info

Renting in Auburn: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants

This set of webpages is designed to provide information for landlords and tenants in Auburn. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the City and its employees do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Landlords, tenants, and readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first getting legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website authors, or the City.

All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed.  The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

This information applies to rentals within the Auburn city limits. Use the button below to use the lookup tool:

Landlords will find:

Tenants will find:
  • Information about their rights and responsibilities 
  • Information about how to register to vote or change an address if already registered
  • Information on Auburn City Code and State Law related to renting

Outline of the City of Auburn's Rental Housing Policy (chapter 5.23 ACC)

Below you'll find a summary of the City of Auburn's Rental Housing Code, chapter 5.23 of the Auburn City Code. Chapter 5.23 was adopted by City Council on September 8, 2020 under Ordinance 6786.  View Ordinance 6786 in its entirety. Additional information may be required by state law: landlords and tenants operating within the City of Auburn have an independent obligation to comply with all laws. 
Distribution of Information (ACC 5.23.030)

In order to ensure tenants have the information needed to assist them in both seeking and living in rental housing, ACC 5.23.030 requires landlords to provide tenants with information at three different phases of the rental process:

First, at time of application the landlord must provide the tenant with their written rental criteria and the website address designated by the City for the purpose of obtaining information on:

  • Local code enforcement action relating to the property
  • Website address to the Washington Secretary of State for the purposes of registering to vote or changing address if already registered to vote.

Second, when a rental agreement/lease is offered, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written copy of the summaries prepared by the City, which includes information on the following:

  • Rental Housing Code (ACC 5.23)
  • Auburn Building and Property Maintenance Code
  • Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RCW 59.18)
  • Forcible Entry and Forcible Unlawful Detainer (RCW 59.12)

Third, during tenancy, landlords must provide tenants with a notice of resources prepared by the City when the landlord serves any notice to a tenant under RCW 59.12.030 which include:

  • 14-day pay or vacate
  • 3-day for waste or nuisance
  • 10-day comply or vacate
  • Notice to terminate tenancy

Landlords are required to provide copies of summaries to existing tenants within 30 days of them being made available by the City of Auburn. The initial distribution of information to tenants must be in written form and landlords must obtain tenant’s signature documenting receipt of such information. If a tenant refuses to provide a signature documenting the tenant's receipt of the information, the landlord may draft a declaration stating when and where the landlord provided tenant with the required information. After the initial distribution of the summaries to tenants, a landlord shall provide existing tenants with updated summaries by the City, and may do so in electronic form unless a tenant otherwise requests written summaries. 

Deposits (ACC 5.23.040)

A landlord cannot collect a security deposit unless the following requirements are met:

  • Rental agreement is in writing;
  • Written checklist or statement specifically describing the condition and cleanliness of or existing damages to the premises and furnishings, including, but not limited to, walls, floors, counter tops, carpets, drapes, furniture, and appliances, is provided by the landlord to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy;
  • The checklist or statement shall be signed and dated by the landlord and the tenant, and the tenant shall be provided with a copy of the signed checklist or statement;
  • Security deposit must be placed in a trust account and provide a written receipt and notice of the name, address, and location of the depository and any subsequent change thereof to the tenant, in compliance with the requirements of RCW 59.18.270.

The total amount of any security deposit and fees paid to the landlord at the commencement of tenancy cannot exceed the monthly rent.

However, an additional security deposit may be added for tenants that have pets provided that those deposits are reasonable and do not embed other types of deposits or fees.

Installment Payments (ACC 5.23.040)

If the total amount of a security deposit and non-refundable move-in fees exceeds 25% of the first full month’s rent, and payment of last months’ rent is required at inception of tenancy, a tenant may request in writing to pay the total amount in installments as follows:

  • For tenancies that are three (3) months or longer, a tenant may elect to pay in three (3) consecutive and equal monthly installments beginning at the commencement of the tenancy.
  • For two (2) month or month-to-month tenancies, a tenant may elect to pay in two (2) equal installments, with the first payment due at the commencement of the tenancy.
  • Failure to pay an installment of the security deposit, non-refundable fees and/or last months’ rent is a breach of the rental agreement and may subject the tenant to a 10-day comply or vacate notice issued pursuant to RCW 59.12.030(4) and shall mean entire amount of any outstanding payments shall become due when next rent payment is due, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the landlord and tenant.
  • The actual cost of obtaining a tenant screening report cannot be included in the installment payments.
  • Landlords may not impose any fee, charge any interest, or otherwise impose a cost on a tenant because a tenant elects to pay in installments. Installment payments are due at the same time as rent is due. All installment schedules must be in writing, signed by both parties.
Late Fees (ACC 5.23.040)
  • Fees imposed for late payment of rent cannot exceed ten dollars ($10.00) per month.
  • No other fees may be charged for late payment of rent, including for the service of any notice required under state law, or any legal costs, including court costs and attorney’s fees, unless such fee is agreed to in writing signed by landlord and tenant at the time of entering into the initial lease or rental agreement.
Notice to Increase Rent (ACC 5.23.040)
  • Landlords are required to provide a minimum of 120 days’ prior written notice to a tenant who is on a month-to-month rental agreement, whenever the monthly housing costs to be charged a tenant will increase by more than 5%.
  • If on a fixed term lease the housing cost cannot be increased during the lease period, unless the agreement includes agreed-upon rent increases during the term of the tenancy or agreement. Landlords are required to provide 120 days’ prior notice to a fixed term tenant if the rent for the following term lease will increase by more than 5%.
  • If the tenant is living in subsidized housing where the amount of rent is based on the income of the tenant, the landlord is required to provide a minimum of 30 days’ prior written notice to the tenant of the increase in the amount of rent.
Notice Requirement Generally - Reasonable Accommodation Request (ACC 5.23.050)

A tenant with a disability has the right to request a written reasonable accommodation for the landlord to serve any notices required by this chapter to be served in formats other than as outlined in this code. Landlords shall review and comply with all reasonable accommodation requests, as required in ACC 5.23.050, received from a tenant.

Notice of Proposed Sale (ACC 5.23.060)

Owners of multifamily rental housing must notify the City of their intent to sell the building 60 days prior to the building being listed with any real estate service or advertised for sale, if:

  • The building has five or more housing units, and
  • Any one of the housing units rents for an amount that is affordable to households at or below 80% area median income, as most recently determine by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This requirement does not apply if:

  • The property is being transferred to family members, transferred through will, or will not be listed for sale, or
  • The property has 20% or fewer studio units, and the affordability of the studio units is the only trigger to these notice requirements.
Notice to Vacate - Just Cause (ACC 5.23.070)

Landlords are required to have good cause in order to evict, attempt to evict, refuse to renew or continue a tenancy after expiration of the rental agreement, or otherwise terminate or attempt to terminate the tenancy of any tenant. A property owner cannot lawfully evict a tenant if the property is not licensed with the City of Auburn, regardless of whether just cause for eviction exists.

Unless otherwise noted, an owner must give a termination notice at least 20 days before the start of the next rental period, and must state the reason, in writing, for ending a tenancy when giving a termination notice.

The only reasons for which a tenant in Auburn may be required to move are outlined in the Auburn City Code Chapter 5.23.070.

If a tenant who has received a notice of termination or nonrenewal of tenancy claiming subsection 5.23.070(A)(5), 5.23.070(A)(6) or 5.23.070(A)(13) as the ground for termination believes that the owner does not intend to carry out the stated reason for eviction and makes a complaint to the Director, then the owner must, within ten days of being notified by the Director of the complaint, complete and file with the Director a certification stating the owner's intent to carry out the stated reason for the eviction. The failure of the owner to complete and file such a certification after a complaint by the tenant shall be a defense for the tenant in an eviction action based on this ground.

An owner who evicts or attempts to evict a tenant, refuses to renew or continue a tenancy after expiration of the rental agreement, or who terminates or attempts to terminate the tenancy of a tenant using a notice which references subsections 5.23.070(A)(5), 5.23.070(A)(6) 5.23.070 (A)(8) as the ground for eviction or termination of tenancy without fulfilling or carrying out the stated reason for or condition justifying the termination of such tenancy shall be liable to such tenant in a private right for action for damages up to $2,000, costs of suit, or arbitration and reasonable attorney's fees.