my landlord shut off my water, and I have been without water since December 17th, 2012.
I had the money to pay the water bill on Friday, December 14th, 2012, but the water department is closed on Fridays. When I awoke on Monday 12/17/2012, I was getting ready to go pay the bill, but before I was going to leave, I put some clothes in the washer and turned it on, only to see that there was no water. I checked the door and the gate to look for a red tag, and found nothing. If the water was shut off due to the bill, my door would have been tagged. therefore the owner had it shut off. around 11/27/2012 I was served with an eviction notice & was to be out by 12/31/2012. my 2 kids had to go stay at my moms because I didn't want cps to get involved due to the no water in the house, what can I do
The landlord does not have the right to shut off your water. Here is the applicable statute (RCW 59.18.300):
It shall be unlawful for a landlord to intentionally cause termination of any of his or her tenant's utility services, including water, heat, electricity, or gas, except for an interruption of utility services for a reasonable time in order to make necessary repairs. Any landlord who violates this section may be liable to such tenant for his or her actual damages sustained by him or her, and up to one hundred dollars for each day or part thereof the tenant is thereby deprived of any utility service, and the prevailing party may recover his or her costs of suit or arbitration and a reasonable attorney's fee. It shall be unlawful for a tenant to intentionally cause the loss of utility services provided by the landlord, including water, heat, electricity, or gas, excepting as resulting from the normal occupancy of the premises.
As I understand your question, you received a notice of termination of tenancy in November to terminate your tenancy as of 12/31/12. But you are still in the property? If that is the case, the landlord may be liable to you for shutting off the water, but that doesn't excuse your remaining on the property after the end of the tenancy. If you aren't currently being evicted, you may face that soon. The landlord's shutting off the water may not be allowed as a defense to the eviction - you likely would have to bring that claim in a separate action.
Talk to a local attorney who does landlord-tenant work. You might look to see if there is a free or low-cost legal clinic in your area if you think you might qualify based on income.
The foregoing is not intended as legal advice, but solely as general information. No attorney/client relationship exists between the poster and the answering attorney.
2 lawyers agree
I agree with Mr. Stromberg. It is illegal for a landlord to cut off your water service. You should contact a local landlord tenant attorney ASAP.
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