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Washington Eviction Notice basics

Washington Eviction Notices help landlords end tenancy agreements. They can be used to incite tenants to pay rent or move, or to evict tenants who no longer have an active lease. Eviction Notices are also suitable for starting the eviction process for removing tenants who have violated their lease or who are a nuisance.

Use the Washington Eviction Notice document if:

  • Your tenants have not paid rent.
  • The lease has expired and you don't want to renew it.
  • Your tenants have violated the lease agreement.
  • Tenants are being a nuisance or disturbing neighbors.
  • You want to end a month-to-month tenancy.
  • You want squatters to vacate your property.

Using Rocket Lawyer, you can make a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate or a 20-Day Notice to Vacate suitable to the tenant-landlord laws in Washington state. These Eviction Notices can be used for cause and no-cause situations.

Other names for this document: 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate, 20-Day Notice to Vacate, Pay Rent or Quit Notice

Eviction Notices in Washington state

In Washington, you can start the eviction process for a variety of reasons including the usual culprits such as late rent or expired leases. This state even has procedures for evicting squatters. An Eviction Notice starts the eviction process. If the tenant does not comply with this notice, you can start the formal eviction process with the courts.

What information do I need to complete an Eviction Notice?

Using the Rocket Lawyer document builder you can create a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate or a 20-Day Notice to Vacate. The 3-Day Eviction Notice can be used in cause cases such as if the tenant hasn't paid their rent. The 20-Day Eviction Notice can be used for situations such as ending a month-to-month lease. By selecting why you are creating the notice, the document builder will automatically choose the correct type of notice option.

Information needed to make these Eviction Notices:

  • Address of the property and of the landlord or property management company
  • Names of all tenants listed on the lease
  • Whether a lease agreement exists
  • Reason for the eviction: failure to pay rent, lease violation, end of month-to-month tenancy, expired lease, property damage, trespassing
  • Whether you also want a Proof of Service document
  • How the tenant violated the lease, if applicable
  • Date the landlord will sign the document

Once you enter the needed information the Eviction Notice will automatically generate with the necessary legal language. You can download the completed document as a PDF or Word file. You can login to your account and change the document at any time. If you need a different kind of landlord document, we provide many specific to Washington state. See essential landlord documents.

How do I need to deliver an Eviction Notice?

You'll want to do your due diligence to ensure that your tenant receives the notice. You should deliver one for every tenant if there is more than one. You can deliver the notice in person to the tenant. If your tenants are not available, you can leave the notice with an adult or person of age who resides in the residence. If you knock and no one answers the door, you can post the notice to the door. Or, you can mail the notice. If you mail the notice you should consider the mail time. For example, a 20-Day Notice may arrive by mail in two days, so you'd add two days because the 20 days starts once the tenants receive the notice.

How do I file an eviction with the courts?

If the tenant does not comply with the notice, you can file an Unlawful Detainer Action by filing a Summons and Eviction Complaint with the Superior Court located where the rental property is located. You cannot deliver the Summons and Eviction Complaint to the tenant, you must hire a professional server or have an adult other than yourself do it for you. You'll need to file a Certificate of Service (Proof of Service) with the court to show that the document was delivered properly and when. If the tenants respond, you'll need to file a motion for an order to show cause. If the tenant doesn't respond or attend court, you'll be awarded a Writ of Restitution by default. The Writ of Restitution authorizes the sheriff to remove the tenants if necessary.

Do not perform a "self-help" or DIY eviction

In all states it is illegal to use intimidation tactics to try to get your tenants to move. It is always best to go through the legal eviction process rather than trying to remove the renters on your own. If you try a self-help eviction, you may lose your case if it goes to court. To protect yourself, do NOT: change the locks, block entry ways, shut off utilities or move your renters' belongings. You should also not harass your tenants. If you are not sure what might be considered unlawful, ask a lawyer.

Washington Evictions: Tenant Rights

Every state provides unique protections for tenants. If you feel your rights are being violated or you don't feel there is cause for an eviction, you may want to consult with your local housing authority to see what resources may be available to you.

Here are some answers to a few common Washington state eviction questions:

How long does the eviction process take?
The entire eviction process can happen in less than a month's time. If you are late paying rent, you may be served a 3-Day Pay or Quit Notice as soon as your rent is considered late according to your lease agreement. If you cannot pay the rent within three days and do not move, your landlord can file with the courts. Once a Writ of Restitution is acquired, you have 72 hours to move. If you do not move, the sheriff can force you to move after the 72 hours is expired. In total, it is about a twenty-day process.

What if I pay the rent due within the three days?
If you pay the rent due within the three days, the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction process. Other states may not require this of the landlord.

Should I attend the court hearing?
Even if you are not contesting your case, there may be benefits to attending your hearing. The hearing may be the last chance you have to negotiate with your landlord. In some instances you may be able to bargain for more time to move out or an extended time to pay rent. If you do not attend, the court defaults in favor of the landlord.

What happens if I'm evicted in Washington state?
If you lose your eviction case, you can be forced out by local law enforcement officers. If you cannot move your belongings, you can request that the landlord store the property at your expense. If you do not claim your property, the landlord can sell or otherwise dispose of your belongings. They may apply the amount raised from selling your items to your debt.

To learn more about basic tenant rights, see our tenant's legal help center.

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Sample Washington Eviction Notice

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