Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-2-04502-4. Date filed: 04/06/94. Judge signing: Hon. Peter Jarvis.
Authored by Walter E. Webster. Concurring: William W. Baker, Ronald E. Cox
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Webster
WEBSTER, J. -- A tenant appeals a judgment entered after the trial court found that she failed to pay rent for nearly two months. The tenant's primary contention concerns $800 which she paid to the landlord at the inception of the lease: she contends that the $800, although denominated by the lease as a security deposit, should be applied to her last month's rent because the landlord failed to comply with statutory provisions relating to security deposits. The tenant also contends that the trial court's action allowed the landlord to twice collect the rent.
We affirm n part, but remand for recomputation of the appropriate set-offs.
The Gripps [Gripp] agreed to lease a house in northwest Seattle to Bonnie Pease and Stephen Ottoman in March 1993 (because Ottoman is not part of this appeal, this Discussion will refer solely to Pease). Pease agreed to pay $800 per month over a sixth month term. The lease provided for an additional payment of $1,300 at the inception of the lease:
13. Security and Damage Deposit. The Lessee has deposited the sums of $800.00 (the underlines indicates a handwritten insertion), as security deposit and $500.00, as damage deposit, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, which sum shall be deposited by Landlord in a trust account with U.S.
Bank bank, savings, and loan association or Interest on the deposit shall belong to Landlord xx Lessee(s).
All or a portion of such deposit may be retained by Landlord and a refund of any portion of such deposit is conditioned as follows:
(a) Lessee shall full perform obligations hereunder and those pursuant to Chapter 59.18 Revised Code of Washington, or as such may be subsequently amended;
(b) Lessee shall occupy said premises for term agreed to above;
(c) Lessee shall clean, repair and restore said residence and return the same to Landlord in its initial condition, except for reasonable wear and tear, upon the termination of this tenancy and vacation of residence. A specific statement describing the condition of the premises at commencement of the Tenancy is on the reverse side hereof;
(d) Lessee shall surrender to Landlord the keys to premises;
Any refund deposit, as by itemized statement shown to be due to Lessee, shall be returned to Lessee within fourteen (14) days after termination of this tenancy and vacation of the premises.
Pease alleges the following failures by Pease relating to the lease transaction. Gripp failed to give Pease a copy of the lease when signed. Pease failed to jointly complete a "statement of condition" when demanding the deposits, and the statement of condition, when completed, was inaccurate. See RCW 59.18.260. Gripp failed to utilize a trust account ...