THOMAS SILVER, an individual, and all those similarly situated, Appellant,
RUDEEN MANAGEMENT COMPANY, INC., a Washington corporation, Respondent.
Silver appeals from the dismissal at summary judgment of his
class action against a property management company. We affirm
the trial court's determination that his claim was barred
by the statute of limitations.
Silver rented an apartment managed by respondent Rudeen
Management Company for about 40 months. Upon entering into
the tenancy, Mr. Silver paid Rudeen a $300 damage deposit. He
vacated the premises June 30, 2015, after giving timely
notice of his intention. On that same day, Rudeen provided
Silver a "preliminary" "Deposit
Disposition" statement. The disposition claimed Silver
owed $2, 516.00 for excessive wear and tear. On August 18,
2015, Rudeen sent Silver a "final" "Deposit
Disposition" statement claiming a revised amount of $2,
281.35 for excessive wear and tear.
sometime thereafter began efforts to collect on its claim.
Silver responded by filing this action. On August 10, 2017,
he filed a complaint for damages against Rudeen. The
complaint asserted the existence of a class of plaintiffs and
a single cause of action: a contention that Rudeen had
violated the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973 (RLTA),
ch. 59.18 RCW, by not providing within twenty-one days a
final statement concerning the damage deposit pursuant to RCW
59.18.280. Plaintiff requested that the court refund each
class member's security deposit, give each class member
double the amount of the deposit, and award attorney fees
costs. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 10.
eventually moved for summary judgment, arguing that the
action was filed outside the two-year statute of limitations.
Silver contended that his action was subject to the
three-year statute of limitations governing recovery of
personal property. The trial court concluded that the only
cause of action asserted was a violation of the RLTA governed
by a two-year statute of limitations. The court granted
summary judgment and dismissed the case for untimely filing.
Silver timely appealed to this court. A panel considered his
appeal without hearing oral argument.
sole issue presented is whether the two- or three-year
statute of limitations period applied to this complaint. We
agree with the trial court that the two-year period applied.
issue of which statute of limitations applies is a legal
question that this court considers de novo. Sorey v.
Barton Oldsmobile, 82 Wn.App. 800, 802, 919 P.2d 1276
(1996). If there is uncertainty about which statute applies,
"the longer statute will be applied." Stenberg
v. Pac. Power & Light Co., 104 Wn.2d 710, 715, 709
P.2d 793 (1985).
RLTA does not contain a statute of limitations. Typically,
when a statute does not contain its own statute of
limitations, RCW 4.16.130 applies. That statute provides:
An action for relief not hereinbefore provided for, shall be
commenced within two years after the cause of action shall
not every cause of action predicated on statutory liability
is subject to the two-year statute of limitations.
Sorey, 82 Wn.App. at 805. Here, Mr. Silver argues
that a three-year limitation period applies:
An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal
property, including an action for the specific recovery
thereof, or for any other injury to the person or rights ...