What if I need to break the lease?
"Breaking a lease" is itself an illegal act, unless the lease includes a provision allowing for a "novation", "sub-lease", or "assignment", then - if the landlord agrees - the tenant can legally alter their relationship with the landlord without breaching the lease (refer to the next question). The landord is not legally or morally obligated to offer or even consider a request for any sort of relief.
Without one of the three legal remedies, the tenant is legally responsible for making timely payments and fulfilling all of the terms and conditions of the lease until it's natural termination, even if the tenant moves out. Until a replacement is found, the tenant is not relieved of their legal duty "to perform".
Although an "Early Termination of Lease Fee" is listed in the "Deposits & Fees" and the Home Share Agreement contains a provision for novations, such relief is not automatically offered or necessarily available to the housemate.
 What's a novation, sub-lease, and assignment?
This is a moot point since the home share agreement doesn't normally include these provisions, but for any lease that does, this is the answer...
 A "novation" releases the tenant from all further obligation and performance, but the tenant is still responsible for all payments and responsibilities until the novation takes effect. The security deposit is returned under the same conditions it normally would be, but with the "14 day" requirement based on the effective date rather than the original lease expiration date;
 With a "sub-lease" the sub-tenant occupies the space for a pre-determined set period of time, with the original tenant re-occupying prior to the natural termination of the lease. The original tenant remains primarily responsible for the timely payment of monies owed, and for the performance of all terms and conditions of the lease while the sub-tenant is an occupant. The original tenant's security deposit is held until the natural termination of the lease. This term is used incorrectly as a "catch-all" term by many local property management companies;
 In an "assignment" the original tenant moves out and the "assignee" occupies the space until the natural termination of the lease. The original tenant becomes secondarily responsible for the timely payment of monies owed, and for the performance of all terms and conditions, with the assignee being primarily responsible. If the assignee breaches the lease and is evicted, the original tenant once again becomes primarily responsible, and legally must pay all past due and current monies owed, AND make timely payments of all future monies owed until the natural termination of the lease. The original tenant's security deposit is held until the natural termination of the lease - even if the assignee is living in the space, not the original tenant.
 Is the late fee enforced?
Very definitely. A phone call or email to the homeowner can postpone the payment without penalty IF the homeowner agrees, but without such communication, the payment is late at one minute after the time stated in the lease, and a late fee is assessed.
On the other hand, if the homeowner finds it convenient, he may offer a "one-time" monitary incentive to the housemate for early payment. In one case this actually paid back the housemate in-full (thru several "one-time" incentives) for a whole series of late fees. This is entirely at the homeowner's discretion - the homeowner is not legally obligated to offer such incentives.
 After I move out, the deposit is paid back in 14 days, right?
No, not necessarily. Washington State Law (as with most states) requires that a letter be mailed to the tenant within 14 days after the natural termination of the lease - the letter may or may not include a refund check. IF the full amount of the deposit is not refunded with the 14-day letter, by law, the letter must detail what - if any - portion of the deposit is being withheld and why, and a check must be enclosed for any amount that is not being withheld or not "in dispute". The 14-day letter can legally be mailed on the 14th day to a forwarding address or the address last known to the homeowner, to arrive sometime after the 14th day.
Most housemates do receive a check for the full deposit amount with the letter, but there have been several cases where (1) a portion of the deposit was withheld from the initial refund, then later refunded to the housemate, (2) a portion of the deposit was withheld from the initial refund, then later a portion of that amount was refunded to the housemate, and (3) the entire deposit was withheld and never refunded. Amounts that are in dispute can include monies set aside for charges against the deposit that are still unknown at the mailing of the letter. After the "dispute" is settled, any balance is then returned to the housemate, usually after the 14th day.
 What's the deal with the "Application of Payments"?
In-line with rental leases, each reimbursement payment is applied to overdue charges - if there are no other monies owed, then all of the payment is applied to the current month's reimbursement. In the Home Share Agreement there are 6 items that need to be paid-in-full before any new payment is applied to the current reimbursement. Each time that any portion of a reimbursement payment is used to pay-off one of those other charges, and one of the deadlines for payment (1st or 5th) passes, a late fee is assessed. The addition of late fees for every month that there is any balance unpaid continues, and the balance due grows larger.
 What will get me kicked out?
The Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (WSRL-TA) outlines four actions that are valid grounds for termination of tenancy, and apply to the home share or any rental arrangement*:  non-payment (in this case, of the reimbursement or any other fee or penalty charged to housemate),  non-compliance (breaching any terms or conditions, or rules & regulations of the agreement),  waste or nuisance (causing damage or destruction, or interfering with the homeowner's duty to operate and maintain the property),  illegal activity (including drug and gang activity, and theft of homeowner's property).
With action #1, non-payment, the tenant can legally stop the eviction by paying-off in-full all outstanding monies owed within three days of notice to vacate. With action #2, non-compliance, if the matter can be reversed, corrected or remedied to the homeowner's satisfaction, the housemate can make such changes within ten days of notice to vacate. In both cases the WSRL-TA requires the homeowner to rescind the eviction order.
With actions #3, waste or nuisance, and #4, illegal activity, there is no provision in the law that allows the housemate to resolve or correct these types of contract breaches, and the housemate must move out within 10 days for a "waste or nuisance" breach, or within 3 days for an "illegal activity" breach.
*Do not base any legal action on this information, contact a licensed legal professional for advice.
 Who's responsible for the smoke detectors?
The Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (WSRL-TA) requires the housemate to be primarily responsible for the replacement of batteries in smoke detectors. The WSRL-TA also holds the housemate responsible for making sure that all smoke detectors are always in working order, and not disabled in any way, and for testing the detectors at least once per year.
Note that if there is a fire that was caused by the housemate either intentionally or by accident, carelessness, or neglect, insurance aside, legally the housemate will be financially responsible for all losses. A disabled smoke detector could easily allow the fire to destroy more property before it is discovered and extinguished, resulting in higher damages that the housemate would have to pay for, and a greater chance of loss of life, which could also make the housemate criminally responsible.
 Have any of your housemates been students?
Yes, half the housemates have been students... two undergrads and three grad students. Two of the students were in the Vet Med program. There have also been two professors, a WSU staff member, a construction manager, and a Schweitzer employee and his wife. There was also a year without a housemate because the "rental window" closed before someone was found - a very difficult time financially.
 Why is the lease so long?
The standard rental agreement is at most only a few pages long specifically because the provisions and protections of the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (WSRL-TA) are automatically a part of any rental agreement even though they are not physically written in.
The provisions and protections of the WSRL-TA may or may not apply to home share agreements*, thus in order to make certain that such protections are in place in a home share arrangement, they must be physically written in, making the home share agreement significantly longer. It doesn't help that there are also more provisions specific to the home share that must also be addressed, and add to the length.
It might help to know that the SpringWater home share agreement format is set-up to help the housemate more easily find their way through it - unlike most rental lease agreements.
*The WSRL-TA doesn't address non-profit home shares that are otherwise not considered "rental arrangements" by the City of Pullman, thus the only definitive way to know if the home share agreement must adhere to the WSRL-TA, without a change in the WSRL-TA, is with a decision by a court of law.
 Why is there a late fee?
The late fee serves two purposes:  as with any penalty, to act as a deterrent, so that the tardiness in making payment doesn't become a pattern, and  it's a domino effect... the housemate pays late, then the homeowner has to delay payments, most often incurring penalties - which are covered in-part by the late fees.
 Can I move some of my things in before I sign the lease?
Sorry, no. You can not "take possession" of the Suite in any way prior to signing the lease and paying all of the monies that are due at that time.
Watch the movie Pacific Heights with Michael Keaton, Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine, and you will immediately understand why any landlord/homeowner who allows a someone to have access to, or "possess" a property prior to signing a lease is a complete fool.
Disclaimer: California tenant laws have loopholes that allow situations like those in the film to occur (I've actually seen this happen first-hand), while Washington tenant laws are a bit more realistic... still legally in Washington a very, very bad idea.
 Why don't you normally let your housemate use the driveway?
Because... (a) it blocks access to the right car bay, (b) housemates have hit the garage door with their bumpers, causing permanent damage to the insulated steel door surface and knocking it off track - a couple hundred to realign the door and over a $1,000 to replace it, (c) backing out of the driveway can be difficult due to it's narrowing as it gets closer to the street, resulting in housemates running over, cracking and breaking sprinkler heads in the lawn, (d) the snow plow crew charges more when vehicles are parked in the driveway, (e) in it's winter location the garbage container is blocked in making it hard to deposit garbage and a hassle to move to the curb for pick-up, (f) housemate's vehicles have dripped fluids onto and stained the driveway. Just not worth the damage and hassle.
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