Bellevue, WA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington

Q: Justifiable break of lease after landlord entered without any notice? WA state

Today my Landlord let two people and herself into the condo we rent from her property management company. I immediately contacted her and stated I didn't agree to this and that I never recieved notice. She claims that her "software" sent our notice and that she will send proof once she has it but that was several hours ago. I have no record through text, phone call, or email of a 24 hour notice to show my apartment to prospective tenants. This was extremely violating and I want to know if it is grounds to break my lease without penalty due to her illegal violation of my privacy. For context, in our lease it states I will recieve 24hrs notice and an email recently said we recieve notice through text and email.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Washington state, landlords are required to provide at least 24 hours' written notice before entering a tenant's unit, except in cases of emergency or if it is impracticable to do so. The notice must specify the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. If the landlord fails to provide proper notice, they may be in violation of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA).

However, a single violation of the notice requirement may not be sufficient grounds for breaking the lease without penalty. To justify breaking the lease, you would typically need to demonstrate a pattern of repeated violations or a substantial breach of the lease agreement.

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Document the incident in writing, including the date, time, and any witnesses.

2. Request the proof of notice that your landlord claims to have sent. If they cannot provide it, you have evidence supporting your claim.

3. Send a written complaint to your landlord, outlining the incident and the violation of the lease agreement and the RLTA.

4. If your landlord continues to violate your rights or fails to address your concerns, consider contacting a local tenants' rights organization or a lawyer specializing in landlord-tenant law for advice on your options.

5. If the violations persist, you may be able to argue that the landlord has breached the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, which could potentially justify breaking the lease.

Remember, breaking a lease should be a last resort, and you should carefully review your lease agreement and consult with a legal professional before taking any action.

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