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Scott K Matthews

Scott Matthews’s Answers

137 total

  • Can i avoid paternity?

    My ex boyfriend and I were together four years. After I found out I was pregnant, he became abusive. Hardly any of it was reported though. He can't keep a job but his family is wealthy, funding his bad habits. After I had the baby, a social worker...

    Scott’s Answer

    Paternity needs to be established for the financial and legal future of the child. If you don't respond the court will go ahead without you, listening only to the father.

    This does not mean that the child will live primarily with the father or that you would not have visitation. A paternity action in Washington includes a child support order and a parenting order. I assume the answer is the same in Idaho. You make your case for where the child should live and how he or she should be supported, to the court.

    If the child was born in Idaho and has been in Washington less than six months, Idaho has jurisdiction. You need to immediately hire an Idaho attorney - you cannot do this yourself. If Washington has jurisdiction you can perhaps get the Idaho action dismissed, but the father can then refile in Washington.

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  • Between landlord and tenant, who is responsible for paying the excess cost of the water bill if the bill abnormally high ?

    I am currently renting an apartment; One day we realized that our toilet water was not stopping after we flushed the toilet, to the point where we had to turn the water off after using and flushing it each time. The following morning, the maintena...

    Scott’s Answer

    Properly operating plumbing is generally the landlord's responsibility. If the excess charge is due to his negligence, then he owes you the difference.

    However, if it is you who has the contract with the water company, you still owe the water company and your landlord owes you a reimbursement. The water company can only demand payment from whoever they have a contract with.

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  • How do I get these awful texts to stop from our landlord?

    We rent privately a home that is 2 streets from the owner. We have an agreement that rent is paid half on the 10th and the other half the last day of the month. The last 2 months landlord has text my husband wanting the second half a week earlier....

    Scott’s Answer

    Write him a letter, return receipt requested, restating the terms of your rental agreement regarding the payment schedule, and stating that because of his profane messages you will no longer accept communications other than in writing. Then block his number.

    If you have a multi-month lease, then your agreement is sound and he has to accept rent when agreed.
    If you have a one month agreement which states the payment schedule, then he can change it with 30 days' notice. (See RCW 59.18.140)
    If you have only an oral agreement about the payment schedule, then he must still give you 30 days notice but in an eviction suit over non-payment, it might be difficult to prove that he actually agreed to that schedule, which is unusual.

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  • Can my landlord remove washer and dryer?

    We asked the landlord to remove the washer and dryer before we took possession, to make room for ours. The landlord refused. We later sold our own set. Now 3 months into our tenancy the landlord left notice that they are removing the washer and...

    Scott’s Answer

    Generally, if you signed a contract (your rental agreement) to use property in a certain condition, you have a right to expect the other party to provide the property as shown.

    Furthermore, RCW 59.18.060 (5) says

    The landlord will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation, and shall in particular: ... 5) Except where the condition is attributable to normal wear and tear, make repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in as good condition as it by law or rental agreement should have been, at the commencement of the tenancy;

    Which agrees with the first point about contract law.

    You have shaded the argument by your initial demand that the landlord's washer and dryer be removed. In theory, their refusal negates your demand since you went ahead and accepted the property ... and so on.

    It is hard to answer more directly because there is obviously a lot of back-and-forth that is not part of your description.

    I think they need to provide you with a washer and dryer. If they remove them they need to replace it with a comparable set in a timely fashion. M:ake sure to notify them by a signed letter (not a text, email, or phone call) that you do not agree with the removal of the appliances, you clearly rented a place that had these appliances, and that they will be in breach of their agreement if they don't provide you with satisfactory washer and dryer.

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  • Odds of getting full custody? Are they better since I was granted temporary custody?

    My ex and I had a daughter named Britney. Britney was conceived in Oregon but her mom and I split before she was born, so she was born in California. Britney's mom has another child who is nearly 8. Afterbritney was born her mom got back together ...

    Scott’s Answer

    After this much time, giving you "full custody" essentially requires finding the mother unfit, and justifying removing the child from the only parent she knows. This is one of the most difficult things to do in family law,
    You cannot do this yourself. You need to find and hire an attorney immediately - definitely well before you return to court on the emergency placement.

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  • Can my landlord charge me for repairs and evict me If I don't pay them within the month?

    I filled out a maintenance request for broken blinds and screens with holes in them. These blinds are so brittle. They break constantly and one kept falling out because the catches wouldn't stay closed. The neighborhood kids in the apartment compl...

    Scott’s Answer

    There seem to be some intermixed scenarios here.
    Regarding the rent: If your rent is late, and you receive a 3-day notice to pay or vacate and do not do so within 3 days , you can be evicted. Your landlord has no duty to honor your promise to pay later with a late fee.

    You are generally responsible for damage to a door that you caused. If the neighbors were playing with the cat inside the house, you must replace the screens. If they were doing it on the outside with your permission, you must pay for the screens. If you didn't' know about it and it was outside, then it is the landlord's responsibility.

    The blinds are not quite as easy. If he provides blinds, then they must be serviceable. If they are simply low quality and a cautious tenant would not have broken them, they are certainly your responsibility. If they appeared good but were actually defective when you moved in, they are probably the landlord's responsibility.

    Unless your landlord creates an environment that encourages or at least ignores inappropriate behavior then any sexual harassment is probably a matter for the police. He may have a duty to do some investigation or warn the harassing parties, but based on nothing but your say so, I don't think he has the duty to do more. This issue is a tricky one - relying on both evidence and what a court feels is harassing behavior. In a harassment case, it is important to keep careful records of what happens, find witnesses and get them to write down what they saw, and so forth. It is not an accusation to make lightly but you do not have to put up with it either.

    Generally, how your landlord treats others, such as those writing on walls, is not relevant to your case.

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  • Can a tenant change the locks?

    I just recently did an annual inspection on my rental as the lease term is ending. During this time I noticed that the back glass door lock and front door lock had been changed. I did not give permission nor was I informed this was being done. My ...

    Scott’s Answer

    This action likely violates RCW 59.18.130(4) unless the tenant claims to be the victim of domestic violence. There is a complicated procedure to be followed in DV cases.

    If your rental agreement says no changing locks, then give them a 10-day notice to either replace the old locks, provide you with keys and the old locks, or vacate.

    If the rental agreement is silent you may still prevail with the 10-day based on the statutory violation. However if the lease is month-month you may find it easier to just five a 20-day notice of termination on or before the 10th of the month if the rent is due on the first.

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  • How do I turn around false charges?

    my roommate became expensive waisting electricity, using my things not respecting space. We talked about it, thought we had come to a resolution, I walk in, she's using my computer that doesn't have a firewall, when I asked why she goes into a ra...

    Scott’s Answer

    Your immediate issues are getting your home back and getting any protection orders dismissed.
    You need to consult a landlord/tenant attorney and a criminal attorney before either of these issues get to court.

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  • Hello i have a legal question, about child custody

    Hello i have a legal question, My ex husband decided 3 years ago that our autistic son was to much for him and his new family he was he was (10 almost 11 at that time) so asked me and my current husband if we could take custody of the child we...

    Scott’s Answer

    It appears that your son has been transferred (integrated) into your home and family with his father's consent. If that is the case, you have a case for modifying the parenting plan. Contact a family law attorney and discuss getting the modification so you will know where you stand.

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  • Is my landlord's husband my landlord too if he isn't on my lease at all?

    My landlord's husband consistently causes problems by showing up unannounced or being volatile and threatening when doing repairs we've requested. I was curious if I could request that we deal only with his wife since he isn't on any of the paperw...

    Scott’s Answer

    It can be difficult to deal with a pushy landlord, but you need to make the police your very last resort. In the first place, unless there is a threat or an entry that rises to the level of a crime, the police can't do much, and usually refuse to get involved. Second, once the police are involved it is nearly impossible to get back to normal relations.

    Call the police if you, your guests, or your property are threatened with violence, or if the landlord persists in unauthorized entries after you have told them, in writing, that you want 48 hours notice except in case of an emergency. And make every effort to accommodate their entries when they do provide proper notice.

    I agree that the husband's name not appearing on the lease is probably not important.

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