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Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Elizabeth Powell’s Answers

8,618 total


  • Do I need a real estate attorney?

    I recently was evicted with a three day notice from the police department. my house was in the foreclosure process that I was renting from. I was told by the police officer after he had given my friends who were helping me move the notice of the e...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Your fact pattern raises several red flags. First, did the Sheriff bring you a writ? That is based on an order from a judge. There are specific protections for tenants residing in foreclosed property, including a right to SIXTY days notice before eviction proceedings happen. *IF* there was a writ, there was supposed to be a Notice attached for you to return to the owner's attorney saying what you wanted to have happen to your personal property. *IF* this does not sound familiar, please contact an attorney familiar with landlord-tenant issues, because that attorney will also understand the post-foreclosure eviction process. This does not sound right, but it is hard to tell. It makes no sense that someone prevented you from having a garage sale, unless the sheriff was there to escort you off the property (execute the writ). If you cannot afford to hire private counsel, contact Kitsap Volunteer Legal Services tomorrow. Elizabeth Powell

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  • If a parent dies without a will, can the family exclude one of her children from knowing anything, even his share of house sale

    Siblings of my husband are talking to a lawyer about the selling of the mothers house. His sister is the administrator but excludes my husband from any information.She has even went as far as including a granddaughter to receive a share of the sa...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    If there is an attorney handling the estate, call and ask him/her where the estate is being probated. Then you can contact the clerk of that court and see the file. That will give you the information you need to proceed. When you are a beneficiary of a will, you are *supposed* to receive formal notice of the pendency of probate. This is always a letter addressed to you at your best known address, or a letter served personally. You can also go to Courts.wa.gov and do a name search and see if you can determine in which court this is being handled. If you know what county the attorney practices in, start there.
    I'm sorry for your loss and for your family's acrimony at this difficult time. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Temp visitation order and child exchanges

    The judge ordered a temporary visitation order. The order names me, the mother, primary residential parent and giving father 3 days 5 hours a day per week visitation. Neither parent has a valid licence so judge placed 4 people on list as volun...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Go back to court and tell the judge what is happening with the visitation exchanges. The judge wants the parties to follow the letter and the spirit of the order. Failing to follow an order as written is contempt. Go tell the judge. It isn't clear from your question that the father is in contempt if an unapproved driver is transporting the child *during* the visitation, because the judge may not have foreseen that was going to happen. In the long run, you have to figure out how to get along with the other parent, but making them follow court orders at this stage is a good foundation for that outcome.
    Elizabeth Powell

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  • Tenant's personal items were damaged in a water leak - who is responsible to compensate?

    I purchased a rental property in Seattle earlier this year. Few weeks after the purchase there was a leak of water from the main floor to the basement were the tenant resides and her personal belongings were damaged (laptop etc.). The water leak ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Your tenant is not responsible for water leaks that she did not cause. Your contract can require her to purchase insurance to cover her OWN liability, but not yours. It isn't clear from your question whether the tenant caused the issue, or not.

    My first question would have to be, does the City know you have a tenant residing in a basement? Is the basement conditioned space with adequate exits in case of fire? Was the plumbing re-done by a licensed professional with a permit from the city building department? Was the outflow pipe shared between different units? Does the City know you have multiple tenants residing in this property?

    When you purchased the property did the seller do a Form 17 disclosure statement? What does that say? Finally, do you have insurance as a commercial landlord or is this a homeowner's policy that does not address renters residing in the property?

    No matter what your contract says, if the problem arises out of conditions under your control and not under your renter's control, you are responsible. In WA, you cannot contract around negligence. Accidents happen. If the roof collapses and damages your tenant's personal property, you are responsible. Tenants are not responsible to keep the roof in good repair, you are.

    When you are a landlord, and there is a problem that makes it impossible for the tenancy to continue uninterrupted and the tenant needs to be relocated to get the problem fixed, then arguably you are responsible to provide cover housing during the period of the tenant's dislocation. Presuming she paid her rent to you, the trade off is she has a habitable place to live - even if it is somewhere else.

    So it isn't possible to give you a definitive answer based on the facts you relate. As always, it depends.
    Elizabeth Powell

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  • I live in king county wa have leased a home for 5 years the owner is selling the property giving me a thirty day notice?

    my lease is up he wont renew it what if I need more time to find a new place? I am never late on my payments I have a child and my mother whom I support

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Here's what's worse: he can do that. The 30 days has to coincide with the rental period though. The statute says he has to give you at least 20 days notice- but your contact can require thirty. But it can't be given May 22 to be out June 22- the soonest it can be is June 30th.

    There isn't any exception for children; you can, however ask for reasonable accommodation to relocate your Mom, and "reasonable" could be another month. Even two months.

    Elizabeth Powell

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  • Landlord/tenant - Is there a circumstance where I could be fined for breach of contract when there was no damage caused?

    I have moved out of place with proper notice. Can landlord rightfully hold my deposit or fine me for damages that were not caused by breach of contract? Can landlord keep my deposit from a breach of contract alone?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    It depends on what your deposit was for. Read your contract. If it was a security deposit, arguably the landlord can keep it if you are in breach. If it was a damage deposit, that's supposed to pay for damage to the property. The rules regarding deposits are at RCW 59.18.260, .270 and .280. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Can my lanlord use the information I put on my application after I enter a lease? If so how may that information legally be used

    I have been renting an apartment for five years. After I recently complained a few times of noise my landlord has used my information to run a background checks on my stating he didn't run my background check when I first applied but he now notice...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Seems sketchy to accept your rent and have you as a tenant for five years, and THEN complain about your background check. And it is clearly not OK to raise your rent in response to a noise complaint. There are laws prohibiting that, actually. WA has an Anti-SLAPP statute that says you cannot be punished for making a good-faith complaint to an agency of the government. Seattle has a Landlord-Tenant office, staffed by our own Ryan Weatherstone. He is very helpful and I hope you reach out to him. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Can I sue my landlord for discirmination and stalking?

    I live in an apartment complex where I am the only one of color and am subjected to different terms of agreement and policies then others in my apartment. For example, I made a complaint against my neighbor for smoking and noise and nothing was do...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Please make a complaint with the City's Office of Human Rights and also with the City's Landlord-tenant office. There are strict rules about increasing rent in response to a complaint; that is never OK. And your landlord can limit the persons residing with you, but cannot tell you that a guest cannot come over to visit you. I am really sorry to hear this is happening and I hope you follow up with the right agencies, because they can help you. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Court of appeal

    I need to appeal my case to court of appeal. I wonder if it goes to court of appeal, will the case become publicly searchable from internet? So when people search my name, they will see the case and court papers on the case?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Yes, briefs and decisions from the Court of Appeals are available at courts.wa.gov. King County does not allow public access to family law case filings, but anyone can go to the Clerk's office and access the filings. The pleadings are a matter of public record. When somebody does a search on your name, the docket entries are available. This is why the Court allows some pleadings to be filed under seal, so some of your personal information is not publicly available. Elizabeth Powell

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  • A friend left her apartment without an eviction notice to help someone out

    She left without eviction notice, 3-5 months later while having a friend look after her pets, she was informed that failure to pay rent, other than her animals she could not collect any of her personal belongings. She and her friend were locked ou...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Did the landlord send the RCW 59.18.310 notice? If not, the landlord can't take her stuff, read RCW 59.18.230. The landlord has remedies but have to give notice first. Elizabeth Powell

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