6304EN | September 2021 www.WashingtonLawHelp.org Landlord-Tenant Issues for Domestic Violence Survivors  Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.  Eviction law continues to change. Read about the latest changes to the law at WashingtonLawHelp.org/resource/eviction  You can find all the fact sheets we link to here at WashingtonLawHelp.org. Should I read this? Yes, if you rent the place where you live and you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment or stalking. Washington’s state law has special protections for you. These protections apply only to:  residential rentals, such as an apartment or house or  where you rent both the home and space in a mobile home park What will I learn from reading this? You will learn how state law protects domestic violence survivors:    You can get out of a lease early. You have the right to be free from discrimination by a landlord when signing or renewing a lease. If your landlord or someone who works for them has abused, assaulted, or harassed you, you have options. p. 1 6304EN | September 2021 www.WashingtonLawHelp.org You will also learn what to do if your landlord is trying to evict you due to an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, or stalking against you on the rented property, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. What is domestic violence? Washington law says there is domestic violence when someone:  Hits or assaults you, or harms you physically in any way or  Causes you to fear immediate physical harm, assault or injury The person harming or threatening you must be:  A family member and/or  Someone you live with or used to live with and/or  Someone with whom you have or had a dating relationship and/or  Someone with whom you have a child What is sexual assault? It is any unwanted sexual contact, physical or verbal. What is unlawful harassment? It is when someone’s pattern of behavior seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses you. This behavior would:  cause you great emotional distress or  cause you to fear for your children It is also when a landlord or property manager makes clear you must do “sexual favors” for them before they will take care of any responsibilities to you. p. 2 6304EN | September 2021 www.WashingtonLawHelp.org What is stalking? It can be any deliberate threatening, harassing, following, surveilling (watching) and/or coercive behavior that   happens more than once and causes you to fear for your safety, the safety of someone you know, or your property No one has the right to threaten or hurt you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233. They can help you find support and resources near you. You can use our Get a Domestic Violence Protection Order online interview to create the forms you need and find out how to file them to get this protective court order. I am a domestic violence survivor. Can I move without having to pay for the rest of the lease? You and/or your household (your children or any adults other than the abuser who live with you), who are domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment and/or stalking survivors may end a lease with your landlord if these things are true: 1) You and/or your household members must either have:  A valid protection order (a court order that may help protect you and your children from domestic violence. Read Domestic Violence: How the Legal System Can Help Protect You to learn more, or use our Get a Domestic Violence Protection Order online interview to create the forms you need and find out how to file them) OR  A record of reporting the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to a “qualified third party.” See Sample Record of Report below. p. 3 6304EN | September 2021 www.WashingtonLawHelp.org 2) 3)  A “qualified third party” can be the police, sheriff or deputy, state court employees, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, licensed mental health professionals or counselors, clergy, or crime victim or witness program advocates.  Reporting to a qualified third party may help you end your lease. It does not give you the same protections as a protection order. You must notify (tell) your landlord in writing that you (and/or your household member) are a domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, and/or stalking victim. You must attach a copy of the protection order or report to a qualified third party. See Sample Letter

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