New Mold Disclosure Law

New Mold Disclosure Requirement

A new law went into effect July 24, 2005 that requires Washington landlords to make disclosures to all tenants regarding potential health hazards of mold. 

The legislature found that “residents of the state face preventable exposures to mold” and that such exposure has “been found to have adverse health effects”.

The new mold disclosure law further states in the legislative findings that “steps can be taken by landlords and tenants to minimize exposure to indoor mold”.  And that as “the reduction of exposure to mold in buildings could reduce the rising number of mold-related claims submitted to insurance companies and increase the availability of coverage, the legislature supports providing tenants and landlords with information designed to minimize the public’s exposure to mold”.
 

The new law requires landlords to provide all new tenants with information provided or approved by the Department of Health about the health hazards associated with exposure to indoor mold.  The information must be provided in writing either individually to each tenant, or may be posted in a visible, public location at the dwelling unit property. 

The landlord must provide the information:

1) to new tenants at the time the lease or rental agreement is signed, and

2) to current tenants no later than January 1, 2006, or post the mold information in a visible, public location at the dwelling unit property beginning the effective date of the act  (July 24, 2005).

A mold disclosure pamphlet approved by the Department of Health is available for download on our Evictions Forms page.

 

Washington landlord attorney Scott Eller

New Law Makes Taking a Default Judgment Against Tenants More Difficult

A recently enacted law requires all plaintiffs, including landlords, to provide evidence that defendants, including tenants, are not in military service before taking a default judgment.  This affects virtually all civil actions, including evictions.   

Alternatively, the landlord may submit a declaration establishing that the landlord has no knowledge as to whether the tenant is in the military.  Presumably, though the statute does not so state, courts will require a showing of diligence on the part of the plaintiff to ascertain the military status of the tenant. 

The statute is silent as to just what sort of supporting facts will suffice to establish that the defendant is not in the military or that after a diligence effort the plaintiff is unable to ascertain the military status of the tenant.  It is therefore up to each court to decide on a case by case basis. As this law is freshly minted, there is little to suggest what types of supporting evidence will gain currency.