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If I'm served a 3-day notice, but they spelled my last name wrong, is the notice still valid?

Everett, WA |

I'm currently on a month to month rental and my landlord served me with a 3-day pay or vacate notice, but spelled my last name wrong. When they served me they actually took a picture as well. Basically I want to know if this notice is still valid or if they have to re-serve me, which can buy me some time to move out.

just to clarify, they put a totally different last name than mine, (example they put Tom Jones instead of Tom Smith, does that make sense?), anyways, I haven't paid rent for this month due to financial hardship and basically it's my first name with a different last name, but I know I'm behind for the rent

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Attorney answers 2


3 day pay or vacate notices and 10 day comply or vacate notices are treated in 2 specific ways. Time and manner requirements (how you were served, was rent due, etc) must strictly comply with the statute. Failure to strictly comply with the statute means that the court would lack jurisdiction. Form and content (your name, the amount you owe, etc) would fall under a more lack standard of substantial compliance. Essentially, if the amount of rent claimed owed materially deceives you as to how much you must pay to bring the tenancy up to date, or if you have no idea who the landlord is talking about (for example if your name is John Doe and they put Clarissa McDonald) you may have a defense.

As to your specific facts, it is a bit of a grey area but it is not inconceivable for a commissioner to rule that they name is simply a forgivable error. You may want to talk to the Snohomish Housing Justice Project to see if they can provide you any advice on your specific facts.

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.


It appears from your statement that the documents may have had a clerical error on them. It is doubtful whether any judge would give you more time on those circumstances.

[In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]

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