Information for Landlords

New laws in Burien are in place to help you navigate the relationship with your tenants. Here’s what these new laws mean for you.

Just cause eviction

In Burien, landlords must have at least one "just cause reason" if you want to end a rental agreement. You must give you a written notice commonly called a "Notice to Terminate Tenancy" and state the specific just cause. The amount of advance notice depends on the specific just cause reason. The amount of advance notice depends on the specific just cause reason. In general, the notice period is 20 days before the end of a rental period unless otherwise stated below. You can always contact the City of Burien at for help to make sure a termination notice is valid and correct.

The just causes you as a landlord can use to end a rental agreement are:

  • Your tenant fails to comply with a 14-day notice to pay rent or vacate; fails to comply with a 10-day notice to comply with a condition of their lease (such as not subletting, for example); or they fail to comply with a 3-day notice to stop certain activity such as drug-related activity;
  • "Habitual failure": your tenant receives four or more 14-day pay or vacate notices in the most recent 12-month period for late rent; or they receive 3 or more 10-day notices to comply with terms of the lease in the most recent 12-month period.
  • Your tenant fail to comply with a 10-day notice to comply duties required by state law, such as properly disposing of garbage and using gas and electrical appliances correctly
  • You or a member of your immediate family needs to move into your unit. This requires a 90-day notice.
  • You want to sell the unit you rent. This requires a 90-day notice.
  • The tenant’s occupancy of a unit depends on being employed on the property and your employment is terminated. This would typically apply to property managers who live on site.
  • You want to do substantial rehabilitation of the building, demolish it, or change it to a non-residential use. This requires you give 120-day notice. You must obtain at least one permit necessary for the rehabilitation or demolition before terminating the tenancy, or change the use prior to terminating the tenancy.
  • You rent a portion of your own home or an accessory dwelling unit and no longer wishes to share with the tenant.
  • You receive a notice of violation for an unauthorized housing unit not permitted in the zone where it is located, commonly called an "illegal unit," and have to discontinue renting the unit.
  • You have to reduce the number of renters in a dwelling unit to comply with the legal limit. This requires a 30-day notice.
  • You have been issued an emergency order by the City to vacate and close your housing unit due to hazardous conditions. This is commonly referred to as “red-tagging.” The notice requirement depends on the specific circumstances of the emergency, but it is always a very short period.
  • You issue a notice to your tenant for engaging in criminal activity on the property. You must specify the crime and facts supporting the allegation in the notice of termination and provide a copy to the City.

Fees and payments

  • The tenant has a right to pay move-in costs and last month's rent in installments. This must be in writing and both you and the tenant must date and sign it!
  • You must place the tenant’s security deposit in a trust account and provide a written receipt to the tenant noting the name, address, and location of the depository.

Get it in writing!

  • All payment installment schedules must be in writing and signed by both landlord and tenant.
  • No security deposit can be collected unless the rental agreement is in writing and a written checklist or statement specifically describing the condition and cleanliness of or existing damages to the premises is provided by the landlord to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. You must provide the tenant a copy of the checklist or statement, signed and dated by both parties.
  • You can ask tenants to pay the cost of a tenant screening report.
  • You must provide an information packet prepared by the City of Burien for both new and renewed rental agreements. You are required to get the tenant’s signature confirming they received the packet. These information packets will be available in early 2020.

Low-income housing notice of sale

If you are the owner of a multifamily rental housing building with five or more housing units, any one of which rents for an amount that is affordable to households at or below 80 percent of area median income as adjusted for household size (see table below), and you intend to sell the building, you must notify the City of Burien by submitting a completed Intent to Sell Notice Form.

This policy provides the City with information about the intention to sell residential rental property with at least one unit rented at 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or below. The City, in partnership with the King County Housing Authority and community partners, can use the notification information to evaluate properties and deploy a range of property preservation tools, including incentives and acquisition. The notice can also help residents seek tenant protections and relocation resources if necessary.

The notice must be mailed no later than 60 days prior to the building being listed with any real estate service or advertised for sale either in a printed newspaper or website. A building is considered “listed” when an owner has signed a listing agreement with a real estate agent. Owners of multifamily buildings having five or more housing units who are otherwise required by law or agreement to notify the City of the owner’s intent to sell or transfer the building and who have provided such notice are exempt from the notice requirement.

To determine whether a unit rent is affordable to a household earning 80% of AMI please refer to the table below. Please be sure to account for any utilities the tenant is responsible for.

Maximum Rents at 80% Area Median Income


Penalties for violating these policies are detailed in Burien Municipal Code Chapter 5.63.080.

Need assistance?

Contact the City of Burien at with questions. See below for other free or low cost resources.