should a tenant in wa state have to pay a penalty to break a lease due to life or death situations such as domestic violence?
Can a landlord break a lease if a tenant is merely charged with a domestic violence? Convicted?
Family Law Attorney
You may want to review the WA Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, particularly RCW 59.18.575 (Victim protection – Notice to landlord – Termination of rental agreement – Procedures). The RLTA is at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=59.18 . If you qualify to use RCW 59.18.575, "Notwithstanding lease provisions that allow for forfeiture of a deposit for early termination, a tenant who terminates under this section is entitled to the return of the full deposit, subject to RCW 59.18.020 and 59.18.280. "
You should review the statutes carefully to see whether you qualify and how to qualify.
You should review your facts and options with your attorney.
If you are being helped by a social worker, the worker may have more information for you.