A Washington rental application is a document that local property owners and landlords use to collect the necessary information to decide to whom they want to offer a lease agreement. If you own property, there are vital questions that you want to ask, but you also need to make sure you do not violate the rights of the rental applicants.
According to the Landlord-Tenant Act, there are several essential points that applicants need to know about fees and deposits  .
- Application Fee: As per § 59.18.257, a property owner can charge a fee, but it can only be for the actual costs incurred by the landlord for applicant screening. The amount charged cannot exceed the typical costs of screening services in the area.
- Security Deposit: Per § 59.18.270, a landlord can charge any amount for a security deposit. The security deposit has to be placed in a trust account for security deposits with a Washington licensed escrow agent or in a state or federal financial institution that is adequately protected.
- Pet Deposit: Landlords may charge a pet deposit. They must provide the tenant with a written agreement stating the deposit amount, terms, and conditions under which the renter may return the deposit.
Per § 59.18.257, all landlords and property owners must provide a notice to each applicant outlining the criteria used to decide whether they will rent their property out to a specific applicant.
This information has to include the source of the screening processes, the cost, and what would cause an applicant to be denied.
- Sex Offender Registry: landlords can access the State Sex Offender Registry to be aware of any registered sex offenders applying as tenants.
- Fair Housing Laws: landlords must adhere to the state’s Fair Housing laws, which prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, familial status, or source of income.