Breaking a Lease Legally in Washington State
Washington State rental laws do not give tenants much leverage on terminating their lease agreement. Breaking a lease is against the law, except for a few instances. Therefore, even if a landlord lets you breach the contract, you will likely part with a good amount.
But if you get legal help from DoNotPay and provide a valid reason for your contract termination, you may just break your lease at a reduced fee, or better, no fee at all.
When Is Breaking a Lease Justified in Washington State?
Washington State tenants can break a lease without penalty under four specific circumstances:
- The tenant is joining active military duty.
- The house has become inhabitable as per the state's standards.
- The tenant is a victim of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and stalking.
- The landlord or a neighbor threatens the tenant with a deadly weapon, resulting in an arrest.
A tenant should not get charged for the remaining rent if they break the lease in any of these instances. They should get a refund if they paid rent for future months in advance.
Other reasons for breaking a lease include moving states, relocating for a job, moving in with a partner, or purchasing a house, among many others. However, Washington State Landlord Tenant Act covers none of them. You may need to confirm the consequences of breaking a lease under these terms in your contract.
Lease Termination Notice Requirements in Washington State
Depending on how long your lease is, you will have to give a specific amount of notice to your landlord before terminating your lease in Washington:
|Rent Payment||Notice Time||Statute|
|Month-to-month||20 days||RCW 59.18.200|
|Yearly||20 days||RCW 59.18.200|
Breaking a Lease in Washington State On Your Own
Once you sign a lease agreement, it will legally bind you to your landlord. Withdrawing your lease before it expires is a breach of contract and could cause hefty charges. In some cases, it can also hurt your credit score if you do not pay the fees.
On the positive side, there are ways you can handle your lease termination that can limit your penalties or avoid them altogether.
- Talk to Your Landlord. Even with strict rental laws in Washington state, you can still negotiate with your landlord to let you withdraw from your lease early.
The best way to avoid hefty charges while breaking your lease would be to have a written and signed agreement between you and the landlord. This document should explain your mutual understanding of the early termination of your lease agreement. After leaving your rental property, it should also release you from further financial obligations.
- Analyze your Lease Agreement. Read every section of your lease agreement again. Check if it permits you to terminate your contract early.
Some leases provide a detailed process of ending your contract before it expires. They may show the exact amount you should pay for breaking the lease.
Charging a fee for early termination is allowed in Washington State. However, the amount should be reasonable.
- Get a Tenant to Replace You. An excellent way to avoid penalties for terminating your lease is to have a replacement tenant. First, discuss the issue with your landlord to see if it's a viable option for them. They can then decide to sublet or re-rent the house.
Subletting means the new tenant will take over your current agreement, implying that the lease will still be under your name. On the other hand, re-renting involves your landlord getting a new tenant and creating a new lease agreement with them.
Unfortunately, these steps do not guarantee a reduced fine for breaking your lease. You may fail to negotiate with your landlord on payment terms.
A better alternative that guarantees success is DoNotPay. Depending on your situation, we'll file a protection letter, issue a hardship letter, or negotiate with your landlord to ensure you pay just the required or even fewer charges.
Breaking a Lease in Washington State Using DoNotPay
Here's how you can get started in 3 easy steps:
- Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.
- Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.
- Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.
- If you're a uniformed service member breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we'll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
- If you're breaking your lease for a reason protected by Washington State's tenant laws, we'll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
- If your reasons for breaking your lease aren't protected by federal or state law, but you'd like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we'll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
- If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection, but Washington state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we'll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.
Why Use DoNotPay to Break a Lease in Washington State
Using DoNotPay to break your Washington State lease is necessary because it is:
- Fast: Move out early and fast without worrying about hefty fines.
- Simple: Follow just three easy steps and let DoNotPay handle the rest.
- Successful: You'll pay less than you would if breaking the lease by yourself.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to break a lease for your Washington State rental apartment. We will ensure you pay only what you should, if not less. Sign up to get started today!