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Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Elizabeth Powell’s Answers

8,622 total


  • Severe mold problems where I am renting

    I saw the place before I moved in, but they did a great job of hiding it. I'm severely allergic to it, but due to my swing shift schedule, I spend my work nights at my parent's, because they pick up my girls from daycare and have only spent a few ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Start by documenting written notice to your landlord of what you have discovered. Keep a copy. Mold is always a symptom of water intrusion, and the RLTA says you are to be protected from "exposure to the weather", e.g. the roof leaking. See RCW 59 18 115(2). Once you have documented having given notice to your landlord and waited the appropriate amount of time (See RCW 59 18 070) to get it fixed, then you decide. You give notice and leave (See RCW 59.18.090) or you report them to Code Enforcement. If you do that be prepared for a fight, because you are setting up a relocation remedy. Some Code Enforcement offices want to fight with you, the person they are supposed to be protecting from substandard housing, like you are asking for a handout, when rather you are just wanting to live in a place that does not actively make you sick. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Legal rights of 17 yr. old boy whose parents placed him in my home? Aural contract only. Deposited $300 for his care.

    17 yr boy removed from home by his parents (turns 18 on 9/2/15). Parents pay me room & board. I am Guardian of rec. at school. Parents did not provide me with: birth certificate, written agreement, contact info for physicians, teachers, tutors--a...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Parents always have an obligation to provide for their minor children. Parents do not get to disclaim this obligation. Please contact CPS and tell them what is going on. It is entirely possible that the parents did not hear what the therapist who diagnosed this child was saying. It is also really strange that the parents continue to monitor him. Please contact CPS and tell them what is going on. Child is entitled to support from his parents, you are under no obligation to care for this child, he isn't your responsibility. Elizabeth Powell

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  • How does a landlord handle a tenant that is always causing trouble; going as far as to assault the landlord?

    I speak of a tenant renting a room that has alienated every other tenant in the house. She is a very angry person and has assaulted the landlord twice in one day. She is 23-24 and he is 72

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    If the landlord is a vulnerable person look at the petition for the order of protection for a vulnerable adult at courts.wa.gov. Under normal circumstances, a landlord cannot evict a tenant using a protection order, but . . . this is one of the only petitions a layperson can bring. Read it. Also, assault is a crime and someone can call law enforcement. The RLTA provides that a tenant who assaults a landlord *with a firearm and gets arrested for it* can be evicted (with proper notice). See RCW 59.18.352, so on your facts this requirement is not met. But given the common premises and his age, think about a VAPO. Elizabeth Powell

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  • What rights does he have if he only has visitation?

    If I was named at a recent Washington state hearing for a PPP as the temp residental parent and the father was only permitted visitation. What does this mean? How long is this temp visitation order good for, and do I have any say so on where my c...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Your child's father has the exact same constitutionally protected interest in parenting his child as you do, albeit for shorter periods of time. The temporary order is meant to provide stability until trial, when the judge will make a decision based on the evidence you provide to the judge. Then you will have a permanent parenting plan. If your child is really young, you will want to build some flexibility into the plan so it makes sense when your child starts school.

    The Court cares most about the child's best interests, not yours or the other parents. You are grown, you can look after yourself. The police are correct that you are not describing criminal conduct, this is a civil matter.

    I understand that you are deeply concerned about your baby's welfare when he is not with you. If you can PROVE that the other parent is leaving him with drug addicts, you may be able to get restrictions on the other parent's time.

    Don't ever get in somebody's way who is handing you evidence on a silver platter. There is more to family law litigation than blowing up the other parent's relationship with his child as fast as you can. Take the long view, and get a lawyer. Elizabeth Powell

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  • 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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