the 3 day notice was mailed to me and taped to my door folded in an envelope. i read in washington state it must be posted in a conspicuous manner, taped to my door to be openly read NOT folded in an envelope.
If you owe rent, I would not rest on the defense that the document was folded up when it was posted. Notices are not treated like pleadings (thank you Supremes). When the landlord can't get you to answer the door, they can serve notice by posting and mailing, so long as they send sufficient copies so that every adult resident gets their own copy.
There are distinctions between "time and manner" and "form and content" of notices, but you would have to take this question up on appeal to get caselaw to say that a posted notice is ineffective if folded up.
It is much better to consult with a local tenant defense attorney and come up with a plan to deal with an eviction ahead of time.
If you move out before the hearing and tell your landlord and his attorney you are out, the eviction will be dismissed because the unlawful detainer court lacks jurisdiction if possession is not at issue.
If you have a lease that has not by its terms expired, you have FIVE judicial days after a writ is issued to pay off the entire judgment and be restored to your tenancy. This is expensive because it will include your landlord's attorney fees and costs of suit. See RCW 59.18.410, in the middle of that dense one-sentence paragraph at the end.
Luckily Snohomish County has a wonderful Housing Justice Project at the Courthouse; they can and will help you if it gets to a hearing.
Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell
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If I was the attorney for the landlord and you made that argument I would put your chances on wining the argument in the 5% range. You are correct that the notice has to be served properly and it is really important. I would be very surprised if "folded" and in an envelope made a difference. However, you are entitled to make your pitch. Many times hyper technical arguments work.
I agree with the previous posters, I would not make that my main defense. The statute simply says that it must be posted in a conspicuous manner. Conspicuous means different things to different people, but I would think it would be reasonable for a court to interpret a notice in an envelope posted to the door as a conspicuous posting.
But you are correct that an improperly served 3 day pay or vacate notice deprives the court jurisdiction to rule in the landlords favor. There are many things a landlord may miss when servicing the 3 day notice; 1) how many tenants are there and how many copies were given? Each tenant is entitled to his/her own separate copy served accordingly with RCW 59.12.040. 2) This is a weaker argument, but the landlord must attempt to serve you personally before resorting to a posting and mailing service. If the landlord did not attempt to see if you were home before posting the notice, you may have an argument for invalid service.
Again, think about hiring an attorney to guide you through the process or help you find other possible defenses.
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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