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Landlord Resources

On July 11, 2023, the Tacoma City Council passed Amended Substitute Ordinance 28894, which updated the Rental Housing Code (TMC 1.95, RHC) which went into effect on July 24, 2023.


New Requirements for Landlords

  • 120-day written notice needed before increasing rent
  • New standards that apply to shared housing arrangements
  • Standardization of tenant screening criteria
  • Limitations on imposing late fees and withholding pet damage deposits
  • Stronger business license, health, and safety requirements
  • New rental agreement regulations
  • Requirement to advise tenants of option to pay move-in fees in installments

Notices to Increase Rent


A 120-day written notice to the tenant will now be required. Subsidized housing and deed-restricted affordable housing are exempt from this requirement.


Standardized Tenant Screening Criteria


Landlords cannot:

  • Exceed maximum income-to-rent ratios [Note: The City establishes its limits on income-to-rent ratio based on Fair Market Rent (FMR) – or what someone would typically pay for a moderately priced unit in a given area.]
  • Place blanket bans on prospective tenants with felony or drug convictions, and arrest records
  • Require a Social Security Number as the only way to conduct screening [Note: Alternative proof to establish eligibility must be accepted.]

Rental Agreement Regulations


On rental agreements, landlords are:

  • Required to state the legal number of occupants and habitable spaces in the unit.
  • Required to provide a name and physical address, in addition to any rental portals or online tools to pay rent, request repairs, and file complaints. [Note: If a landlord does not reside in the state of Washington, there must also be an authorized agent who resides within Pierce County, as outlined in RCW 59.18.060(15).]
  • Prohibited from regulating or restricting dogs based on breeds, unless they have an insurance company-required breed restriction, provided that any breed of service animal shall be allowed.

Standards for Fees and Deposits


 Late fees cannot exceed 1.5 percent of monthly rent, with a maximum limit of $75 per month, and landlords must actively take steps to recover late fees during tenancy by serving quarterly notices or invoices, and tenants will have more time to pay move-in fees, depending on length and type of rental agreement. Landlords will be prohibited from:

  • Withholding late fees from deposits, or reporting information regarding late fees to prospective landlords at the end of tenancy, if late fees were not addressed during tenancy
  • Assessing late fees on charges that are not rent, such as installment payments, deposits, or amenities like parking • Requiring a pet damage deposit exceeding 25 percent of one month’s rent
  • Withholding full refund of a tenant’s pet damage deposit if unused

Shared Housing Standards


For shared housing arrangements (where a tenant rents a private room or shared room, but shares common areas such as a kitchen, gathering spaces, and/or bathroom with other tenants), the following requirements will apply:

  • The master lease holder must share contact information for any subleasing tenants with the landlord, and the landlord’s contact information with any subleasing tenants.
  • When renting to four or more tenants, separate rental agreements for each habitable space (i.e. spaces used for living, sleeping, eating or cooking) are required
  • The landlord is required to serve any notices that can lead to eviction to the master lease holder and provide the master lease holder with additional copies of notices to serve each subleasing tenant.
  • If subleasing tenants are not provided a written notice of eviction, the landlord must allow the subleasing tenants an additional 30 days to vacate after the eviction order is issued, or as ordered by the court.

Business License, Health, and Safety Requirements


A landlord will not be able to pursue eviction or increase rent without a current City of Tacoma business license or if a dwelling unit does not comply with RCW 59.18.060 and presents conditions that endanger or impair tenant health and safety.


For additional information on the business license for rental properties, please visit https://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=123464.


Resources for Landlords

If during tenancy, a landlord must serve a tenant with a notice under RCW 59.12.030 or TMC 1.95, the landlord is also required to serve the notice of resources prepared by the City. These notices are included in the Tenant Information Packet. Below are resources for landlords for the Rental Housing Code.


Rental Housing Code 

Read the Rental Housing Code (TMC 1.95).


Check Back Soon for The Updated Tenant Information Packet           

In the meantime, to remain in compliance, provide the tenant with a copy of the current Tenant Information Packet and a copy of the Rental Housing Code Flyer. 



Download the Tenant Information Packet


Rental Housing Code Flyer


Notice of Resources-Required


City of Tacoma Notices-Courtesy







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