How to Start an Eviction in Washington State
Determine the proper notice to serveIf a tenant has failed to fulfill their obligation pursuant to the lease agreement, or you wish to terminate the tenancy, the proper notice must be prepared. For failure to pay rent, this is a 3 day notice to pay rent or vacate which list the amount due and any other fees due, such as late fees.
For failure to comply with the lease agreement, a 10 day notice to comply is required. For example, the tenant failed to pick up garbage or mow the lawn, pursuant to the lease, you give a notice listing the section of the lease the tenant is violating and what the tenant must do to remedy the violation.
Example, pursuant to section XX of the lease, you have failed to property dispose of garbage. You are hereby notified to properly dispose of the garbage within 10 days.
To terminate a month-to-month lease, you must serve a 20 day notice terminating the lease, which contains the date of termination.
No matter what notice used, make sure it is clear and correct.
Once the notice is determined, you must properly serve the tenantProper service is key. For all notices they must be personally handed to the tenant(s).
If you are unable to do so, you can leave it with another resident in the house (ie. child over the age of 14, roommate whose name is not on the lease but living in the residence). If no other person you can post the notice to the door. For both these options, you must also send a copy of the notice through the mail, postage prepaid, the same day it is posted. Just leaving a copy in the mailbox is not sufficient.
Time ComputationThe time period is easy to figure. For a 3 day notice, the tenant has 3 days to pay. However, the 3 days do not count the day of service. So, if served on Monday, the tenant has Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to pay. If served on Friday, they have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to pay (weekends do count towards the time period).
However, if you post and mail or serve another resident and mail, you must give one extra day for the time period. For example, the 3 day notice is posted and mailed on Monday, the tenant has Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to pay.
For notices to terminate, they must be completed at least 20 days before the end of the month. This is because the tenant has paid for the month so they have a right ot stay the whole month. So, for a month with 31 days, serve on or before the 10th, with the notice giving until the 31st. If post and mail, do so on the 9th or before, recommended the 8th.
Issues to RememberA few things may happen during the time period that may change the situation. For example, a tenant pays part of the rent during the 3 days, which is accepted by the landlord, a new 3 day notice with the new balance due and owing must be served, starting the time period again.
The 20 day notice is only effective if the tenancy is a month-to-month. If a set time period lease (ie. 1 year), then the tenancy cannot be terminated without agreement of the parties or if violations of the lease. Time period leases also either terminate on the expiration date or convert to month-to-month. If not clear in the lease, it converts, or if the tenant stays past the time period, paying rent, and the landlord accepts, then also converted.
If the lease expires, and the tenant does not leave, the landlord can serve a 3 day notice to vacate. Simply, the tenant has 3 days to get out or eviction proceedings may be started.
One last note, Seattle has just cause laws that must be followed