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Can my employer evict me with no notice?

Puyallup, WA |

I was a live-in nanny and my employer gave me 6 hours to move out. I got as much of my belongings as possible, but some remain. I intended to return the next day, but found that I was locked out. I need my belongings, some are important papers.

Attorney Answers 3


That's an interesting question that makes two suppositions. First, it is an employer. Second, they are your landlord. Landlord tennant law defines what a landlord can do to evict a tenant. If you have an agreement that shows you were allowed to live in the home as compensation for working as a nanny, I think you probably have a landlord-tenant relationship. I hate to sound tentative, but it depends on the writing you can produce and what it says.

We don't know what happened to precipitate this event. At the very least, however, if you have property in the home, have made a demand that it be returned, and he/she has refused this demand, you have a cause of action for theft. If civil is your route, you would file a claim in small claims court. Or make a timely call to the police (how long has it been now?).

I am making some assumptions here since your post is very short on facts. I don't recommend someone call the police to resolve a dispute with someone unless a phone call or face to face meeting is not productive or there are facts which make these choices unavailable, and only if the person honestly believes there are facts supporting an accusation of a crime. Falsely reporting a crime is itself a crime and more importantly is dishonest.

If you are able to establish a landlord-tenant relationship, a landlord must by law give written notice (by a legally approved means of notification) prior to eviction of a tenant. Telling you to get out on less than a day notice is not legal.

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I agree with the previous poster that this is an interesting question. The end answer is that only the sheriff may remove you from the property and lock you out regardless of your tenant status. You may want to call the sheriff and see if they will provide a civil standby to allow you access to the house.

The big questions is whether you are a tenant or a tenant at will? In Washington, a person who's tenancy is dependent upon employment is not entitled to a predicate notice. This means the landlord may end the tenancy without notice . . . it does not mean they can lock you out though. You would be considered a tenant at will and the landlord may have to bring an ejectment action to remove you from the property.

Like I stated earlier, call the sheriff and ask for a civil standby while you re-enter the premises, you may be entitled to live there until an order from the court directs the sheriff to remove you.

You may also want to consider hiring an attorney to bring an wrongful eviction action on your behalf.

This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed to establish an attorney client relationship. Before taking any legal action, it is always advisable to discuss your specific situation with an attorney.

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A tenancy based on a job is not subject to the RLTA, unfortunately. But no matter what, no one can take or retain your property without your express permission, no matter what the circumstances are where the property got detained.

But you always have to start with notice. Written notice stating that you want your property back and telling them that you will use the Court if necessary to get your property back. The replevin statute (RCW Title 7) says the court can order the defendant to have to pay your reasonable attorney fees and costs of suit if you have to use the court to get your property back.

You'll be able to get your stuff, but it isn't a landlord-tenant case. Hope this helps.

Elizabeth Powell

Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.

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