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Can I give my renter a 3-day eviction notice or does it have to be a 20 day notice?

Yelm, WA |

I have a lease with them, but I rented to them almost 3 years ago, so I understand that they are now in a month-to-mounth position. They owe over 18 months rent. Originally the rent was 1600/mo. In April I told them that they could pay $1200 per month. Since then they still have not paid the full month's rent, only partial payments. I have found out that the husband is on drugs and it is suspected that he is dealing with stolen property from the premises. The neighbors see him leaving late at night and comming in at 2 or 3am with a trailer load of stuff and putting it in my shop building. He told me that he gets free stuff from abandon storage lockers. If that were the case he wouldn't be picking it up at 3 am. He went to jail 5 yrs ago for stealing, I think he doing it again.

Can I give him 3-day notice or does it have to be 20?

Attorney Answers 1


It is too late in the month to terminate this tenancy on a 20-day notice. The soonest you could have them out on a 20-day would be August 31. Giving that notice properly would definitely be the surest way to end this tenancy though.

You can do a 3-day if they owe you anything. Don't put any values on the 3-day other than rent. Do your level best to make the 3-day accurate.

You could do a 3-day vacate for gang/drug/unlawful activity but the problem is you have to identify where the information came from, otherwise it is hearsay, and your neighbors may not want a criminal to know where the information you have came from. Surely you can see the problem with that.

If you do a 3-day vacate for unlawful activity, you are setting up a factual battle and that requires a trial, and that can cost a fortune. Better to assert the properly timed 20-day, or a 3-day pay or vacate as the basis for your eviction action.

The best outcome for you is to get your property back in the least amount of time so you can find a new tenant who will pay the rent on time. People who forget to pay their rent are seldom worth chasing after for payment because they don't have any money.

In Thurston County, contact John Woodring's office. They are very good at this.

Elizabeth Powell

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