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Washington Eviction Notice Templates | Laws

Washington eviction notices are documents served on tenants of Washington State who have failed to pay rent, failed to comply with their lease, or have committed an unlawful act on the premises of a rental property. The landlord will be required to serve the notice in the manner described in detail in the Washington State Legislature, and they will be required to allow the tenant the amount of time indicated in the notice to vacate or remedy the breach (if applicable). A notice to quit can also be delivered to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, usually without cause.

Failure on the landlord’s part to provide notice and deliver it in the manner described by law will usually enable to the tenant to remain on the premises. Failure on the tenant’s part to vacate or remedy the breach will enable the landlord to file an unlawful detainer action against them in court.

Contents

By Type (4)

3-Day Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity – Tenants can be served this notice if they’ve severely damaged the rental property, or conducted illegal activity/caused a nuisance on the premises.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument
Laws: § 59.12.030(5)+(7)

 


10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – This notice informs tenants that they have violated their lease agreement and that they must remedy the violation or leave the property within ten (10) days.



Eviction Laws + Required Notices


How to Evict a Tenant

Landlords are required to follow a certain procedure when terminating a lease with a tenant. The drafting and service of a notice to quit must be executed precisely as described in the state statutes. Some cities have more protection for the tenants, requiring the landlord to give more notice or include certain language in their notices to quit. In most cases, if the landlord has grounds for eviction, they will be able to terminate a lease in a manner that provides the tenant with sufficient and justifiable time to move out and find a new dwelling.

Step 1 – Notice to Quit

If a landlord wishes to remove a tenant from the property, they must first provide the tenant with sufficient warning of the lease termination and the reason why they’re ending the tenancy. This warning can be delivered through a notice to quit, also called an eviction notice. The notice explains what the tenant has to do to retain tenancy, if possible, and the amount of time they have to fix the issue. In some cases, they will not be given the opportunity to resolve the breach of the lease agreement and will be forced to leave before the notice term is up.

A notice to quit should be delivered in one of the following three (3) ways:

  • By delivering the notice personally to the tenant;
  • If the tenant is not there, by leaving it with someone of suitable age and sending a copy through the mail; or
  • If someone of suitable age cannot be found, by affixing the notice to a conspicuous place and sending a copy through the mail.

Step 2 – Summons and Complaint

The landlord must wait until the end of the notice term to allow the tenant time to move out or fix the problem. If they remain on the property after the term ends, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer action with the court (usually Washington State Superior Court). The landlord can start this process by drafting a Summons and Complaint. The Summons (which must be drafted in compliance with RCW 59.18.365) is used to tell the tenant that there is a pending lawsuit against them, and to explain their options for recourse. A Complaint details the reason a lawsuit is being filed. These two documents must be served and filed together (see service instructions in Step 5 below).

Step 3 – Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement (Optional)

If the tenant is being evicted for the non-payment of rent, the landlord can draft and serve a Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement (in accordance with RCW 59.18.375). This form demands that the tenant either pay the delinquent rent amount to the court registry or provide a written statement that details why they do not owe the money.

Step 4 – Order to Show Cause

The landlord can also petition the court with an Order to Show Cause in order to set a hearing date. The order will communicate to the tenant, once served, that a hearing date has been set and that they must attend or face a default judgment against them. It demands that the tenant prove why they should be permitted to stay on the premises.

Step 5 – Service of documents

There are a few ways that landlords can go about filing and serving the abovementioned forms. The Summons and Complaint must be served together; however, they can be served without first filing them with the court. In this scenario, the landlord would then await the tenant’s answer and in turn file with the court either a request for a default judgment or a request to schedule a hearing date depending on whether the tenant responded. The second service option is to file the Summons, Complaint, and Order to Show Cause with the court, then serve all three on the tenant. The Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement can be filed in conjunction with the other forms, or anytime after the complaint has been served.

The service requirements of the forms are slightly different than those for the prelawsuit notices to quit. A landlord may not serve the documents themselves, and they must use an individual who is not a party to the lawsuit and above the age of eighteen (18). The server can deliver the documents in the following ways:

  • They can deliver the forms in person;
  • Hand it to a person of suitable age and discretion who lives in the rental unit, and mail a copy, or;
  • If none of the above are possible, they may prove to the court they exercised “due diligence,” post a copy of the notice on the premises, and mail a secondary copy to the tenant’s address.

Step 6 – Tenant’s Answer/Notice of Appearance

Once the Summons and Complaint are served, the tenant will have to respond with an Answer or a Notice of Appearance indicating that they refute the claims and plan to appear in court. This response must be served by the deadline indicated on the Summons (minimum seven (7) days). If the tenant also received a Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement, they will have seven (7) days from the service date to either pay the amount to the court or provide a written statement explaining why they shouldn’t have to pay it. Failure to respond to or properly serve either form will enable the landlord to move to a default judgment.

Step 7 – Show Cause Hearing/Trial

If the tenant responded to the Summons and has been served all forms in accordance with the law, a show cause hearing will be set (as indicated on the Order to Show Cause form). Both parties are required to appear on time and present their arguments. In most cases, the landlord will have substantial evidence to evict the tenant and will win the case. However, the judge will hear both sides and will usually make a final judgment. A victory for the landlord awards them a Writ of Restitution and whatever damages are owed. A tenant victory will have the case dismissed. A landlord who has lost can request that the judge set a trial date so the matter can be argued further. In other circumstances, a judge may choose to set a full trial by jury within thirty (30) days of the hearing. The results of the trial will bear the same judgments as those of a hearing.

Step 8 – Writ of Restitution and Removal

Assuming the landlord won, they will be issued a Writ of Restitution. A sheriff will provide the tenant with a copy the day after judgment. Once served on the tenant, they will have three (3) days to move off the property. If they don’t move off in time, the landlord can schedule a physical eviction with the sheriff and hire movers to remove the tenant’s property (usually occurs within two (2) weeks).


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