Adverse Action in Tenant Screening

Washington residential landlord-tenant law requires all landlords before obtaining any information about a prospective tenant to notify the prospective tenant in writing or by posting of the following:

  • the types of information the landlord will access to conduct the tenant screening
  • what criteria may result in denial
  • the name and address any consumer reporting agency used and the tenant’s right to a free copy in the event of denial or other adverse action, and to dispute the accuracy of any information in the report

Costs. The landlord may charge a prospective tenant the costs incurred in obtaining a tenant screening report. If a landlord conducts its own screening the landlord may charge an amount not exceeding the customary costs charged by a screening service in the area.

Adverse action. If the landlord takes an adverse action, then the landlord must provide written notice of the adverse action to the prospective tenant that states the reasons. The adverse action notice must be in a “substantially similar format” to the form in the statute.

Penalty.  A landlord who violates the adverse action statute may be liable for up to one hundred dollars, plus court costs and attorney fees.

Our adverse action notice form is available free for downloading.

Residential landlords must also comply with fair housing laws when screening potential tenants.