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Do I need another rental agreement? My tenant informed me that June was their last month and thus did not pay this month's rent.

Kettle Falls, WA |

They have decided to continue renting and will pay the normal rental, but will not pay for June (they paid the first and last month's rent at the beginning of original rental agreement). They will like to continue month to month which is also acceptable according to the original contract. The thing is, by them not paying for June, I believe the original contract has been terminated (please correct me if I'm wrong). Can I go ahead with this new arrangement without signing a new contract with them? Do I/we need to sign any agreement/contract showing that the initial contract has been terminated? If I agree to the new month to month arrangement, do we have to treat this as a new rental (needing security deposit, last month's rent e.t.c)? I want to make sure things are done properly. Thanks!

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Well, if they are planning to stay then this cannot be their "last" month. The original contract ended by its own terms after that first year, so yes, it is over. Their unilateral decision that July 2013 is their last month and thus they don't have to pay rent would be fine - IF they were planning on moving out before the end of the month.

You don't need to sign a new lease with them if you are OK with the month-to-month arrangement. If you don't have a written rental agreement, you cannot take a security deposit (see RCW 59.18.260) and no, this isn't a "new" agreement such that you'd take a new deposit and a new last month's rent.

In order to be sure you are managing things properly, take your contract to a local real estate attorney who understands residential tenancy law in WA, and get the advice you need.

Elizabeth Powell

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

Thanks so much for your response. I just wanted to clarify that their last month was June 2013 (they didn't pay for June) and they did not move out either, as they have told me they are planning on staying. Does the above still work if I'm fine with them going month to month? They have been renting for about 2 years so they were on month to month before they made June their last month. I would prefer not to sign another contract if it is not required. Thanks.

Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Posted

What makes no sense to me is how they can say that June was their last month when they are still there. You are under no obligation to enter into a new lease if you don't want to. If neither of you offers a lease to the other, then they are month to month tenants and you can end that tenancy by written notice provided 20 days before the end of the rental period. What that means is: If they pay rent on the first, then you give notice on or before the 10th to terminate the tenancy the last day of that month. So long as the property is not in the corporate boundaries of Seattle, you don't have to give a reason or an excuse, you just notify them the tenancy is over. E Powell

Asker

Posted

Yes, I think they may have needed money and were looking for an excuse for not paying June's rental. It seems they never intended to move out. I was just thrown off because of the non-payment. I wasn't sure if that would result in us signing a new rental agreement. Thanks again!

Posted

I agree with Ms. Powell and the May would the penultimate month and if they are staying then they still owe for June. if they were leaving, then the story would be different.
Good Luck

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Posted

I agree with my colleagues that this is likely the best interpretation - unless you have some terms in your lease I have never seen.

If they do not move out and accept rent then the tenancy continues month-to-month without any further written agreement. On these facts, if you do not want to allow the last months rent deposit to be applied you should inform them in writing that this in not acceptable ASAP. You need to insist they pay June before you accept July rent (or any other rent) - unless you are willing to live with not have a deposit going forward.

This answer is based on limited information provided and is not a substitute for legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is created. To protect your interests it is best to seek a private consultation with an attorney.

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