When renting a home or apartment in Vancouver, Washington, tenants are protected by rights outlined by the Washington State Attorney General's office. Landlords must also follow the guidelines stated in the Federal Fair Housing Act. The FFHA's main objective is to protect renters from discrimination when seeking housing. Listed below are the basic tenants' rights when renting in Vancouver.
Renters cannot be provided housing or be refused housing based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or familial status. The same rental opportunity must be offered to all applicants.
If you have paid a security deposit, the landlord is required to give you a written receipt, a written rental agreement, a statement describing the condition of the rental unit to be signed by the landlord and the renter and the name and address of the financial institution where the security deposit will be held. This deposit can be kept by the landlord to cover damages or back rent. Security deposits cannot be kept to cover normal wear and tear. Interest is not required to be paid on a security deposit. The security deposit or a letter stating why the deposit will not be returned must be received by the tenant within 14 days of leaving the property.
If you are renting based on a month-to-month agreement, the landlord must provide 30 days' notice before raising the rent. If you have signed a rental lease, the rent can only be raised if the renter agrees to the increase.
Landlords must notify you in writing before running a past rental history, eviction history, credit history and criminal background screening. A fee may be collected for the actual costs of these screenings. If the landlord denies your rental application based on information from these background checks, the exact reason must be stated to you in writing.
It is the landlord's responsibility to maintain the building according to state and local laws regarding health and safety. Landlords are required to keep common areas clean; repair any structural damage; rid the building of any insect, rodent or other pest problems; provide locks and keys and smoke detectors; provide and repair fixtures and appliances needed for heat, electricity and water; make sure the dwelling is weather-tight; set the water heater to 120 degrees and provide trash removal services for multi-family units.
The landlord must give two days' advance notice before entering your unit and must enter at a reasonable time of day. In case of emergency or abandonment, no advance notice is required.