1. Only a court can evict--a landlord/owner has NO power to evict.
2. Tenants can withhold rent only in accordance with state law--do it improperly and the LL can sue for unlawful detainer.
3. A LL who cuts off power is breaking the law--in some states its a crime, in others a civil matter.
4. LL must provide a front door.
5. Who pays for water SHOULD be outlined in your lease agreement.
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Withholding rent in WA is a very complex remedy that requires a thoughtful reading of RCW 59 18 115. When a landlord interferes with your utilities, you have the right to tell the landlord to knock it off, and there are remedies if they do not promptly re-connect the utilities, but it is very difficult to argue retaliation, and the remedy for a finding that an eviction is retaliatory is merely fee-shifting. If you don't have a lawyer, that is a useless outcome.
First give notice in writing of the problems, keep a copy, and get a copy to your landlord and/or the owner. Wait 24 hours, and then go to the Building Department to request the RCW 59 18 115 inspection. I have a Legal Guide linked to my profile on how to go about claiming this very generous remedy. But it does not start by telling the tenant to withhold rent.
You might still be eligible for this. Elizabeth Powell
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