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Washington Laws to Know Before Investing In Rental Real Estate

Landlord-Tenant Law Book on a Desk with a GavelWhen most all newbie Renton investors consider buying a single-family rental property, what naturally comes to mind are the operational aspects of the investment: finding tenants, managing property maintenance, and collecting rent. What you may not contemplate is that there are as well an eye-popping range of multiple laws and legal matters that relate to buying and leasing rental homes.

Much as most federal laws do have an impact on rental properties nationwide, most of the laws that you’ll have to grasp well are those on the books of your state, county, or even city. Accordingly, it is wise to do your research and pick up a clear knowledge and understanding of these laws before you procure an investment property.

Real Estate Agency and Licensing Law

One of the relevant people on your investing team is your real estate agent. The laws that govern the relationship between an agent and their clients differ from state to state. As an investor, it’s beneficial to know very well what your real estate agent can and cannot legally do, from disclosures to acting in a dual agency capacity.

Likewise, presume that real estate agents may or may not be informed of property management laws. Consequently, you should do your best to have a solid understanding of the procedures required by Washington for owning and keeping a real estate license and always make sure to check that your agent’s license is current and in good standing.

Transfers of Ownership

Another state-specific set of laws you should take into consideration are those concerned with voluntary and involuntary ownership transfers. Voluntary transfers of ownership are those that are carried out when a rental property is procured or contracted for. Though, there are definitely a few differences among state laws pertaining to who will handle the transfer (your real estate agent or an attorney, for example), whether title insurance is required, who pays which closing costs, and who owns the property on the day of closing.

Be that as it may, you should additionally learn your state laws about involuntary ownership transfers. These transfers normally happen when the heirs of a deceased property owner inherit the property. Really understanding these laws can help you conceive a plan and effectively make the process uncomplicated whether you inherit property or leave your property to someone else.

Limitations on Use

In almost every state, local regulations will oversee how a property owner may use and benefit from their property. Zoning ordinances, deed restrictions, historic preservation programs, and environmental review laws can all limit how a property owner may put to use their land or structures.

As an investor, it’s principal to find out any local ordinances that may get in the way of your capability to renovate or lease the property you decide to buy. You should furthermore validate if any occupancy laws impacted your set plan to use the property as a rental.

Fair Housing and Others

There are federal, state, and even certain local laws intended to protect tenants’ rights and prevent discrimination. So while ascertaining your federal tenants’ rights laws is beneficial, you will also have to determine whether your state has supplemented those laws with stricter versions of their own. You should therefore check conscientiously for any rent control policies that may apply, both current and those to be enacted soon.

Ascertaining your local Landlord/Tenant laws and habitability standards will help you to always make certain you manage your investment property appropriately. Tenants’ rights laws can cover an amazing number of things, from security requirements to frequency and notification about rent increases.


Being well-versed with all of the essential laws in Washington can be a lot of work, so it is understandable for innumerable rental property investors to hire Renton property management experts instead. At Real Property Management Eclipse, we consider carefully all the ins and outs of state and federal laws and can effectively see to it that your investment properties are leased and managed in accordance with those laws. Call today at 425-209-0252.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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