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Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Elizabeth Powell’s Answers

8,659 total


  • What classifies as "clearly posted" when a landlord gives you notice?

    There was a 20 day notice to vacate pushed through the mail slot of my door, which I ended up finding on my floor due to it not being "clearly posted". My interpretation of "clearly posted" means you tape something to someone's front door so that ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Yes. Because when a notice is posted they also have to mail the same document to you. Without correct delivery of the notice you can't be in unlawful detainer. Please contact Housing Justice so your argument is presented correctly. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Is my landlord allowed to continue accepting my rent while trying to evict me for non-payment?

    My landlord is trying to evict me for non-payment even though my rent is completely paid. My security deposit is the only thing I owe him, but he didn't clean the house at all before I moved in and the previous tenants had done a lot of damage - i...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    He can't use a 3-day to evict you for non-payment of a security deposit, no, that is for rent. Bring proof of what you paid, and the cost to you of cleaning the place up. If you have a written agreement that he agreed to take money off the deposit in exchange for you doing the labor, bring that as well. BE SURE you can show you are current on rent. Even being completely in the right, you could still be evicted. Pierce County has a Housing Justice Project. Call them at (253) 572-5134, see if they can get an attorney ready to go to bat for you tomorrow. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Breaking my lease.

    My building has had numerous issues which I believe constitute neglect on the management. There has consistently been dog urine in one of the elevators and the carpet in the hallway of my floor. They have warned the tenants about not smoking (mari...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    The party who has broken the lease is your landlord not you. Document everything in writing, give written notice and leave. See RCW 59.18.090.

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  • In which cases would I be obligated to pay my rent someone other than our landlord (regarding back HOA dues)?

    Our landlord is behind on his HOA dues. We were approached at home by a property management company whose representative told us we have to pay them rent until all are past dues are paid. They handed us some court documents that I believe were int...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Look at the papers. Whose name is on them? Yours or your landlords? You are not the agent of your landlord for purposes of being served a lawsuit on your landlords behalf.

    In King County there is the Housing Justice Project - please look them up and call them for sure on Monday. If you don't qualify you really need private counsel. Elizabeth Powell

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  • How do we evict my son's girlfriend that just moved in? They aren't paying rent or have a rental agreement.

    My son and his girlfriend moved here and have only been here for two weeks and they are now breaking up. There is no rental agreement nor do they pay rent. How do we go about evicting his girlfriend? Do we have to give her a 30 day notice?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Superior Court is the right court for this issue in Washington; District or Small Claims cannot help you. This is not self-help law. Please find and retain a local attorney who regularly handles matters like this. Elizabeth Powell

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  • I won a judgement insmall claims. He did not pay and I had the case transferred to civil court. How do I get a garnishment on hi

    I know where he lives and where he works. He also owns a car, can I do anything with that?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    A collections attorney can do this for you very efficiently. Done properly, you can add the amount of fees you have to pay onto the unpaid judgment. And yes, arguably there is a way to have the sheriff seize his car and bring it to you or sell it for you. The penalties for making an error on a garnishment or a sheriff's seizure are stiff. If you want the sheriff to seize a car, you will have to post a bond before they will do anything. My point is, this is not self-help law. Elizabeth Powell

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  • I just received a letter from a collection agency representing my last landlord where I moved from 2 years ago trying to collect

    The amount owed is over $4000 but we have not heard from the landlord since we moved 2 years ago and were all paid up on rent. This was a duplex in Washington State. We had received a generic letter saying we owed money about 3 months after moving...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    It depends. Your landlord has 14 days to tell you in writing what they are doing with your deposit, or return it to you. A generic letter three months after you left is two and a half months too late. The statement re your deposit is not optional, and it is the landlord's duty to get it to you, not your obligation to demand it. See RCW 59.18.260, .270 and .280. They can sue you if you owe them rent money, but if they are saying you owe them $4K for damaging the place, they are going to have a hard time bringing in their evidence if you read the law and apply it. Elizabeth Powell

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  • How to respond to threats from a landlord knowing they will stay true to their word....

    I have been renting a room in a 5bdrm, 2 story house since last Dec on a month to month, verbal agreement. I discussed w the LL several times, the things at the house needing serious repair and after 4mos of nothing, I wrote him a notice of repair...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Actually - there is a new case that says uninhabitability can be raised as a defense in an unlawful detainer. Code Enforcement *should* have told them to relocate you. There is no lawful "verbal notice", and a written notice has to be given at least twenty days before the end of the month. You do NOT need to move by June 1. If your landlords attempt to have you evicted, that unlawful detainer action, on these facts, is going to result in a defense verdict (in your favor). If anybody locks you out or kicks in your door, call the police right away.
    I am sorry to hear you are going through this. The best way to stop this conduct is to make it very expensive for the party who is acting so badly. Hold your ground. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Do I need a lawyer to collect unpaid rent from a tenant?

    Tenant has moved out with 2 months unpaid rent ($2000) What's the best way to collect the rent? If I take this to small claims, what are the chances that they will even pay? Would it be better to hire a lawyer and file in a different court? If I d...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    In order to have a successful lawsuit, you need three things: 1) a reason to sue (you have that) 2) an identified defendant (you have that) and 3) the defendant has to have some means to pay the judgment. People who don't pay rent for two months are quite likely broke, and even if you get a judgment, it is possible for the defendant to bankrupt out of the judgment. If you are pretty sure the defendant has (or will have) the means to pay the judgment, please consider small claims first. If you decide to do this in district court, yes you can add on attorney fees. Elizabeth Powell

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  • Can I create an OTHER section after Affm. Def's on my Answer and indicate relevant police reports by number that were omitted?

    Plaintiffs Complaint identifies facts but omits entire facts that pertain to her complaints. Examples- She complains of harassment but fails to mention said incident end result was judgment of AH Oders against herself and me. 2. She complains of s...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    You can write a declaration and attach as evidence the reports to which you refer. If this petition you are responding to is about harassment, be sure to point out if the petitioner alleged she followed the statute by telling you in advance that your communications were unwelcome. Your answer, in WA, should be limited to admissions, denials, and denials for lack of knowledge. Evidence goes in a different document, not the answer. Elizabeth Powell

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