Colburn Law

No Fees Unless We Win   206-919-3215

click for free consultation

How to Report Your Landlord for Negligence

Colburn Law

How To Report Your Landlord For Negligence In Washington

Safe, habitable living conditions are a basic right under the law, yet some landlords fail to uphold these standards. This neglect can jeopardize a tenant’s health, safety, and well-being; in some cases, it can result in serious accidents. If you are a renter in Washington, here is what you need to know about reporting your landlord for negligence.

Examples of Landlord Negligence in Washington

In Washington, landlords are required to maintain rental properties in a condition that ensures tenant safety and health. When they fail to uphold these responsibilities, they are considered negligent. Here are several examples of landlord negligence:

  • Failure to Address Structural Issues: Landlords must keep structural components like chimneys, roofs, floors, and walls in reasonably good repair. Neglecting these areas can lead to unsafe living conditions.
  • Neglect of Common Areas: Shared spaces in a rental property must be kept clean, safe, and sanitary. A landlord’s failure to maintain these areas can result in accidents or health issues.
  • Inadequate Pest Control: Except in cases where the tenant is responsible, landlords are required to manage pest infestations. This is crucial in preventing health risks associated with pests.
  • Non-Compliance with Electrical and Plumbing Standards: Electrical, plumbing, heating, and other facilities must be maintained to ensure they are safe and functional.
  • Poor Security Measures: Adequate locks and the safeguarding of keys are necessary to ensure tenant safety. Negligence in these areas can expose tenants to assault or theft.
  • Weather Protection: Properties must be kept reasonably weather-tight, protecting tenants from elements such as wind, rain, and cold.

Report the Complaint to Your Landlord First

The first step in addressing landlord negligence is to report any issues to your landlord, their agent, or whoever collects your rent. It is essential to provide written notice of the necessary repairs, even if the problem has been previously communicated verbally. 

A formal letter shows that the landlord has been notified of the issue and establishes a record that they were made aware of the conditions requiring attention. Even if they do not respond to your complaint, you can use this notice as evidence of landlord negligence.

File a Complaint with a Local or State Agency

If the landlord does not = address the reported issues, you can escalate your complaint to the appropriate agency, depending on where you live. For example, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections processes public complaints regarding housing violations. You can call the department’s Violation Complaint Line or file a complaint online to report unsafe living conditions. 

Additionally, the Tenants Union of Washington State offers resources and counseling for tenants facing landlord issues. They provide a platform for submitting tenant counseling intake forms and a hotline for tenants’ rights, assisting in the resolution of these complaints.

File a Lawsuit Against the Landlord in Civil Court

In situations where a landlord’s negligence leads to an accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. These legal claims seek compensation for injuries sustained due to unsafe property conditions directly resulting from a landlord’s failure to meet safety standards. 

Consulting with a Seattle premises liability attorney can provide crucial guidance and support during this time. A lawyer can assess the merits of your case, help navigate the legal process, and work to secure the compensation you deserve for any harm suffered. To learn more about this pathway, schedule a free legal consultation today.