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Overpaid rent?

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Overpaid rent?

Postby thomrose524 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:16 am

Washington state, city of Seattle:

I had a lease which ran for a year and then converted to month to month. I paid first and last month's rent when I moved in, and always paid my ongoing monthly rent on time.

In late July, I paid my August rent. Shortly after that, and before August 1, I gave my landlord notice that I would be moving out by the end of August. The landlord claims that my notice is effective the end of September, and that I owe rent for the month of September, which she collected as last month's rent when I moved in. Is that really the case? My understanding is that per Washington state law (RCW 59.18.200(1)(a).) I only had to give 20 days notice before my rental period was complete. If I am right, I gave notice almost two weeks before I was required in order to have my rent obligation complete at the end of August. So, who is right? Am I entitled to one month's rent?
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Re: Overpaid rent?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:18 pm

You cite State of Washington law:

RCW 59.18.200
Tenancy from month to month or for rental period—Termination—Armed forces exception—Exclusion of children—Conversion to condominium—Notice.
(1)(a) When premises are rented for an indefinite time, with monthly or other periodic rent reserved, such tenancy shall be construed to be a tenancy from month to month, or from period to period on which rent is payable, and shall be terminated by written notice of twenty days or more, preceding the end of any of the months or periods of tenancy, given by either party to the other.
(b) Any tenant who is a member of the armed forces, including the national guard and armed forces reserves, or that tenant's spouse or dependant, may terminate a rental agreement with less than twenty days' notice if the tenant receives reassignment or deployment orders that do not allow a twenty-day notice.
(2)(a) Whenever a landlord plans to change to a policy of excluding children, the landlord shall give a written notice to a tenant at least ninety days before termination of the tenancy to effectuate such change in policy. Such ninety-day notice shall be in lieu of the notice required by subsection (1) of this section. However, if after giving the ninety-day notice the change in policy is delayed, the notice requirements of subsection (1) of this section shall apply unless waived by the tenant.
(b) Whenever a landlord plans to change any apartment or apartments to a condominium form of ownership, the landlord shall provide a written notice to a tenant at least one hundred twenty days before termination of the tenancy, in compliance with RCW 64.34.440(1), to effectuate such change. The one hundred twenty-day notice is in lieu of the notice required in subsection (1) of this section. However, if after providing the one hundred twenty-day notice the change to a condominium form of ownership is delayed, the notice requirements in subsection (1) of this section apply unless waived by the tenant.
[ 2008 c 113 § 4; 2003 c 7 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 70 § 1; 1973 1st ex.s. c 207 § 20.]


The part in question reads, "(1)(a) ... such tenancy shall be construed to be a tenancy from month to month ... and shall be terminated by written notice of twenty days or more, preceding the end of any of the months or periods of tenancy, given by either party to the other."

While we're not expert in Washington Law, and you should probably check with a local legal expert, it does seem the plain meaning of the statute is to require one party give the other party twenty days written notice. It does not specify how such notice be given or served on the other party, but you should check your expired lease to see if that is addressed. A month-to-month tenancy is usually an extension of the expired tenancy, so the provisions of the lease for the expired term are still good.

You say you gave notice prior to August 1. I would count 20 days from the date of service and the next rent payment date would likely be the effective date, in this case September 1.

Seems to us the LL probably owes you the last month's rent that you paid as you paid August rent separately (in our view that was a mistake). However getting it from the landlord might require you to file a complaint with your local small claims court or go to your local Attorney General if they handles such cases.
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