Can a Landlord Do a Surprise Inspection in Washington State?
Does My Landlord Have To Give Me Notice On An Inspection In WA State?
As a tenant in Washington State, it is important to know and understand your rights when it comes to landlord inspections.
What Does The Law Say About A Landlord Giving A Surprise Inspection?
While landlords have the right to inspect their property, there are certain regulations and procedures that must be followed.
I remember being a young tenant and totally oblivious to the laws. I once recall our landlord doing a "surprise" inspection and I was unaware that I could've asked for a written notice when they showed up.
As I rented places as I got older, I realized as a renter, you do have rights that sometimes landlords try to skirt and you need to know your options.
One of the most commonly asked questions by tenants is whether landlords are allowed to conduct surprise inspections.
Washington State law defines a landlord's right of entry as "reasonable notice". This means that landlords must provide reasonable notice (usually 1-2 days in advance) before entering the rental property.
In most cases, landlords schedule a specific date and time for the inspection and inform the tenant in advance. Therefore, surprise inspections are generally not allowed under Washington State law.
Tenants have the right to be present during the inspection. Landlords cannot perform an inspection without the tenant present or without their permission.
In Washington State, tenants are entitled to privacy in their rented units and they have the right to deny entry if the landlord cannot provide sufficient cause or notice.
In some instances, landlords may conduct emergency inspections.
For example, if there is a gas leak or fire hazard, the landlord can enter the premises without notice.
If this happens, the landlord is responsible for the cost of any damage caused to the tenant's property or belongings, and they must fix any damages caused by the emergency.
As you can see, you do have rights as a renter and to answer the question, a landlord needs to give you a 48-hour notice and a reasonable time when the inspection will occur.
You can read more about the law here.