Common Eviction Mistakes by Washington Landlords
The most common mistakes I see by residential landlords who attempt to evict a tenant.
Not Registering their Property with the City of SeattleIf you rent in Seattle, you must register your rental property with the City. There is a small list of exceptions to this registration requirement and you probably aren't on it. The City has long had a rule that you cannot evict a tenant if you are not registered and recently amended the rule so that if you are not registered you cannot even serve a pre-eviction notice. Registration is not an expensive or difficult process, make sure you get it done.
Improperly served noticesIn Washington, a properly served eviction notice is a necessary pre-requisite to filing an eviction case. If you don't serve the notice correctly, then your case will get thrown out and you'll have to start over again. You might even end up paying your tenant's attorney fees. Make sure you follow the requirements of RCW 59.18.040 to the letter. Especially common is landlords posting the notice on the door without also putting it in the mail.
Issuing the wrong kind of noticeBefore you issue any notice to your tenant that might start an eviction process, read RCW 59.18.030 carefully. The notice must be done correctly and state the proper timeframe for remedial action by the tenant. Again this is a pre-requisite to evicting a tenant and must be done correctly.
Not responding to Repair RequestsWashington landlords have an obligation to maintain their properties, even if the tenant stops paying rent. Failure to make repairs can be successfully used by the tenant as a defense against eviction. If your tenant is requesting repairs, make sure you respond.