Washington State Tenant Eviction Process

Are you struggling with a problem tenant in Washington State? Are you wondering what your tenant rights happen to be? In Washington State, landlords have the ability to serve tenants a variety of different notices that can eventually lead up to and eviction. These notices must be properly served by a landlord and the tenant must have failed to meet the terms of the notice in order to be evicted.

Basic Types of Eviction Notices

There are four basic types of eviction notices that can be served: 1. A 3 day notice to either pay rent that is due or vacate the property.

2. A 10 day notice to comply with the terms of an agreement or vacate the property.

3. A 3 day notice to eliminate waste on the property or some other nuisance.

4. A 20 day notice to terminate a tenancy.


It Generally Takes About 3 Weeks To Complete an Eviction

The most common reason for an eviction is because of rent going unpaid. Most landlords in Washington State offer a grace period of 5 days at the beginning of the month where no late fees will be charged. If rent goes past the 5th of the month, a notice to pay or quit is served, which can then become a lawsuit for an unlawful detainer if it goes past the 8th of the month. Once the lawsuit is served, the tenant has 7 days to answer the complaint. If they do not, a default judgment will be issued. In order to have the lawsuit filed with the court, a landlord must show just cause for the filing. Tenants can also request that a summons be filed with the court. If the case goes to the court, a judge may choose to send the case to trial. A tenant can win a trial, just as a landlord can win. If the tenant wins, the eviction process must start from the very beginning. If the landlord wins, a court order for the eviction will take place. A sheriff's deputy will serve a writ of restitution and can then enforce it three days later. A court order can also expire and if it does, the eviction process must start over again.


What About the Other Eviction Notices?

The process is the same for the eviction notices to comply with rental terms or to eliminate nuisances or waste from a property. The tenant must be given the full amount of time on that notice to comply with the request. If they do, then the notice expires. If they do not, then the process described above after the notice to pay or vacate is the same. The 20 day notice to terminate a tenancy, which in Washington State is called a No Cause Notice, can only be sent to a tenant who is on a month-to-month leasing arrangement. Once the 20 days have expired, if the tenant is still residing on the property, then they are considered a holdover tenant and the eviction process as described can begin. If you accept a full payment for rent that includes time after a 20 day notice has been sent, then it will void the notice. If a tenant pays for all of May rent, for example, and your notice to vacate is for May 15th, if you accepted the payment, then the earliest you could remove the tenant would be June 1st. In Seattle, however, there must be a reason to send this notice. It cannot just be sent. By following this process, the goal is to create a fair housing market. Landlords and tenants agree to this process with every lease. Follow this example and you'll be able to know what your rights are for eviction in Washington State.

Posted on Jul 07, 2014


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