Tag Archive for eviction notice

Eviction Checklist: What You Need to Know to Evict a Tenant in Washington State

Use this eviction checklist to evict a tenant in Washington State.

Are you a landlord who wants to evict a tenant? Use our eviction checklist to learn what you need to know to evict a tenant in Washington state. The first step is to know the tenant/landlord laws so you know what’s legal and illegal. Secondly, identify the legal reason for the eviction, and finally, you’re ready to prepare an eviction notice.

Understand State Law

Look up Washington’s official state statutes to find out what’s applicable in our state. Look for the Landlord and Tenant Act,. available from the Washington State Attorney’s office. You can also visit Landlordology’s website to get started. You’ll want to read up on how to handle security deposits, including pet deposits and damages to the house or unit. Understanding what is and isn’t allowed when collecting rent, giving notices, entering the unit, handling late fees and providing receipts are also important.

Read Up on Local Ordinances

Besides reading up on Washington’s tenant/landlord state laws, you must also become familiar with county and city ordinances. For instance, if your rental is in Seattle, visit the city’s City Hall website page at Seattle.gov.

Understand Valid Reasons for Eviction

You need a legal reason to evict a tenant in Washington state. You also need to give fair notice. Acts such as the tenant’s failure to pay rent, violating the lease, causing damage or creating safety hazards are just a few of the reasons you can evict a tenant. Money rashers says you can also evict a tenant if they stay after the lease expires. They recommend understanding state requirements on handling minor infractions and how much time you must give the tenant to correct infractions before pursuing an eviction.

Don’t Do These Things!

According to RentPrep, there are several things you cannot do legally to evict a tenant in Washington state, including changing the locks or moving the tenant’s belongings. RentPrep also says it is illegal to turn off the tenant’s utilities or make threats against them.

Prepare an Eviction Notice

Once you decide to evict a tenant in Washington state, you need to fill in a complete set of Washington state eviction forms in order to create the notice. We offer a kit that contains all forms required as well as additional forms and procedures for creating an eviction in the City of Seattle. Instructions are included, making this a relatively easy way to keep costs down while filling in and filing the paperwork yourself to start the eviction process. You can buy this kit as an instant download and use it immediately. Or order a print copy we’ll mail to you. The kit includes a Procedural Information Sheet that provides:

Landlord Storage of Personal Property of Tenant Information
Seattle Landlord – Tenant Laws & Washington State Regulations, with information for Tenants
Acknowledgement – Seattle Landlord-Tenant Laws
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit Premises
Notice to Conform to Obligations of Tenancy
Notice to Conform to Obligations of Tenancy – City of Seattle specific
Notice to Terminate Tenancy
Notice to Terminate Tenancy – City of Seattle specific
Case Assignment Designation
Case Information Sheet
Complaint for Unlawful Detainer (Residential)
Eviction Summons
Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement
Motion and Affidavit for Order to Show Cause
Order to Show Cause
Affidavit of Service
Plaintiff’s Motion and Declaration for Order of Default
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law; Judgment; and Order for Writ of Restitution
Writ of Restitution
Order of Default
Declaration re: Service Members Civil Relief Act
List of free legal clinics, if you need help filling out forms

This blog post is not offered as specific advice, which may only be provided by an attorney based upon each individual situation. To find an attorney, click here to visit our attorney referral page

Landlord 101: What You Need to Know to Rent Property

Before you become a landlord, learn your rights as well as the tenant's to save trouble down the road.

Becoming a landlord sounds like a promising and lucrative venture. But before you buy a property or turn one into a rental unit, find out everything that’s involved. You might be surprised to find out that becoming a landlord is about a lot more than just gathering the rent checks and fixing a few things now and then.

Know What’s Involved

Do you really know what’s involved in becoming a landlord? You might be surprised by what you don’t know…and need to know. Check out this eye-opening article in Money listing 6 rookie mistakes to avoid when becoming a rental property owner. For starters, expect expenses to be higher with a rental unit compared to a residence. Depending on where you buy the property, you also could end up paying special taxes, higher insurance rates and dealing with inspections that could turn into major costs if not done properly.

Review Local Law

Before you start renting the property, review your state, city, county and municipal rights as a landlord. And don’t stop there! Knowing a tenant’s rights can save you lots of trouble down the road. Check out the resources we provide for tenants and landlords in Washington state in our recent blog post.

Always Screen Applicants

Before you sign a rental agreement with the tenant, engage in some due diligence. In other words, screen all applicants to determine their ability to pay the rent on time. Money Crashers suggests running a background check and contacting previous landlords to determine an applicant’s suitability. Click here to read Money Crashers’ full list of questions to ask and what to check for.

Be Ready for Eviction

No one wants to think about eviction, but it happens. Preparing and serving an eviction notice protects your rights as a landlord. We offer an eviction kit, complete with all of the forms you need to file and serve the eviction notice, at DoItYourselfLegalKits.com. Click here for more information about eviction kit – the kits are available as an instant download, or you can order a print version we’ll mail to you.

Prepare a Lease

Creating a simple lease agreement sounds easy. But an informative article at CBS News recommends hiring an attorney who specializes in real estate. That way, your rental agreement is in compliance with local and state laws and can’t be used against you when the tenant decides to leave. Click here to see our referral list of real estate attorneys.

 

Tenant Rights Vs. Landlord Rights: Resources to Help Both Sides Know Their Rights

Know the tenant rights and landlord rights to avoid problems.

A lawsuit filed by the Rental Housing Association against capping move-in fees in Seattle is just the latest to cause friction between tenant rights and landlord rights. No matter which side of the law you fall on regarding the new requirement that landlords must offer installment plans to allow tenants to pay deposits and other fees, both renters and landlords have rights. Understanding what you can and cannot do, whether you’re renting your abode or leasing it to someone, starts knowing and protecting your rights.

Resources For Landlords

Becoming a landlord, whether you have a single rental unit or several buildings of units, requires knowing the laws in the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. A simplified version is also provided as a free download by the Washington State Bar Association.

If your rentals are located in Seattle, you must also become familiar with the codes outlined by the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections. (SDCI). Local building ordinances may also apply, so check with the city in which the rental is located.

While tenants have rights, they are also expected to fulfill certain obligations. Get more information by downloading the free Code Compliance Guidelines provided by the SDCI. This document also outlines the records a property owner should keep to support a termination of a tenant. You’ll also get a list of groups that can provide information to rental property owners.

You may want to consider joining the Rental Housing Association. According to a recent KOMO News article, this organization represents 5,400 rental housing landlords across Washington state. Of those members, 4,000 own units in Seattle with 88 percent owning less than four rental units.

If you need to evict a tenant, we offer a do-it-yourself Eviction Notice, available for purchase by visiting Do It Yourself Legal Kits. If you need to hire an attorney to help you with a tenant problem, see our list of law firms.

Resources For Tenants

Start by reading our blog post about the rights of tenants in Washington state. Washington Law Help also provides low-income individuals with legal problems related to tenant rights. Download their free publication titled Your Rights As a Tenant in Washington State. The Washington State Bar Association also offers a condensed version.

You can also review the Washington State Legislature’s Residential Landlord Tenant Act to read the law on a variety of topics, including:

The City of Settle Department of Planning and Development offers a useful guide you can print, complete and give to your building manager to report items needing repair. Click here to view the form.

Download Seattle Laws on Property Owner and Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities. The last few pages of this document include a list of groups that can help you with tenant rights. For instance, Neighborhood Legal Clinics are mentioned as a resource for a free legal consultation. This organization helps people with civil matters only. Read our blog post for more information about Neighborhood Legal Clinics.

Check out the Tenants Union of Washington, a public service based in Seattle that helps with tenant rights. According to their Facebook page, they help improve tenants’ living conditions and fight unjust housing policies.

If you need to hire an attorney to help you with a landlord problem, see our list of law firms.