Written by attorney Jared N Hawkins

How to Evict a Tenant Through an Unlawful Detainer Action (Mobile Home)

In Washington, Landlord-tenant relations for those renting lots in mobile home parks (but having no ownership interest in the lot or the association owning the park) are governed by the Manufactured/Mobile Home Residential Landlord-tenant Act (MHLTA), codified at Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 59.20. The MHLTA sets forth in specificity the obligations a landlord owes to a tenant and the obligations that a tenant owes to his/her landlord.

When a tenant violates certain terms of the lease or of the MHLTA, the landlord gains the ability to terminate the lease or choose not to renew a tenancy. The landlord, however, must first provide a written notice advising the tenant of the violation. See guide, “Initial Steps to Take When a Tenant Violates the Lease (Mobile Home)."

Once sufficient notices have been provided pursuant to the statute, and if the tenant continues to refuse to vacate the premises, the next step is usually to proceed with an unlawful detainer action. An unlawful detainer action is commenced by serving the tenant with a summons and a complaint. The summons and complaint inform the tenant that the landlord has started a legal action to remove the tenant (and his/her mobile home) from the mobile home park. Typically, the landlord will request a show cause hearing at the same time that the landlord files the summons and complaint with the court (or shortly thereafter). The landlord must also serve the tenant with notice of the show cause hearing. At the hearing the tenant is given the opportunity to prove to the judge why the judge should allow the tenant to retain the premises. If the tenant fails to do so the judge often will then (upon the landlord’s request) issue an order authorizing the issuance of a writ of restitution—a writ of restitution is given to the Sheriff, authorizing the Sheriff to remove the tenant (and the mobile home) from the mobile home park (within a certain period of time).

Keep in mind that forcibly removing a tenant or locking out a tenant before following the statutory procedures isprohibited.

Additional resources provided by the author

Resources: RCW 59.12.040, 59.12.070, 59.12.080, 59.18.370; 59.20.040; 59.20.080, 59.20.150.

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