New Residential Tenant Screening Rules


Tenants sometimes must apply to several places before they find a new renal home. The cumulative costs of paying for screening reports is a considerable expense for some tenants.

One possible solution is a comprehensive reusable tenant screening report. A comprehensive reusable tenant screening report is prepared by a consumer reporting agency.  The prospective tenant requests and pays for the report. To avoid fraud, the report is made available directly to the landlord.  The landlord is not charged for the report.

A comprehensive reusable tenant screening report contains:  (a) a consumer credit report prepared by a consumer reporting agency within the past thirty days; (b) criminal history; (c) eviction history; (d) employment verification; and (e) address and rental history.

Washington landlords are not required to accept comprehensive reusable tenant screening reports, but a new law requires landlords of residential properties to disclose in writing whether the landlord will accept a comprehensive reusable tenant screening report.

Any landlord who maintains a website advertising rentals must disclose on the website home page whether the landlord accepts comprehensive reusable tenant screening reports. Note that websites such as Zillow are not “maintained” by the landlord, who would have no control over the home page. This provision applies only to websites maintained by the landlord.

Again, landlords are not required to accept comprehensive reusable tenant screening reports.  Landlords who accept comprehensive reusable tenant screening reports may also obtain their own report, but cannot charge for it.

This is a quick summary of Washington landlord-tenant law. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Consult with an attorney before making decisions that may affect your rights.

by Washington landlord-tenant attorney Travis Scott Eller