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Tenant trying to delay eviction, Washington State?

Redmond, WA |

I'm in the middle of a unlawful detainer lawsuit. And my tenant, claims that the unit was broken into last night and they stole some of his belongings and cash. Besides the fact that its a ground floor unit and he continuously leaves the window open when he is not home. He informed me that "he filed a statement of grievance or such indicating that I am moving out, but was robbed, and requested through the courts a hearing to grant a stay of evuiction. Police documented items missing along with almost 1100 in cash (part of which was for you)"
What exactly does filing those things do, to the case? I can't find any information what a grievance would actually be relevant to the case for, or that much information on a stay of eviction. ie. how long it could delay eviction.

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Attorney answers 2


Unless the tenant is alleging that you are the robber or that your failure of your duties as a landlord contributed to the robbery (such as that you did not provide locks), that the tenant is robbed is not a statutory reason for the court to delay hearing whether you have a statutory basis to evict the tenant.

Desperate tenants do all sorts of things to delay eviction. They may even do some crazy things such as rewiring your property's electrical wires incorrectly and then call the housing inspector on you.

If your rental situation is governed by Chapter 59.18 RCW (Residential landlord-tenant act), you can review the statutes to see the statutory procedures. The statutes are at . You likely also should review the statutes on unlawful detainer (eviction).


The unlawful detainer court has very limited jurisdiction - just to narrowly determine whether or not a tenancy exists, whether or not rent has been paid as agreed in the contract. Even though the caselaw (Foisy v Wyman) suggests that equitable defenses can be raised, in a practical sense they cannot. Your tenant can request that the writ be stayed once one is issued, but if the court denies the motion, you can ask for fees/costs for the necessity of your response.

Courts always reason that if the place was "that bad" the tenant should be happy to leave.

A grievance is not the same as an answer. A catastrophe that prevents payment of rent still doesn't get the rent to you as contracted. If you don't have a lawyer you should get one, who can review this matter and give you the appropriate advice based on your specific circumstances.

It is never a good idea to take legal advice from your opponent.

Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell