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.
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.
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.
- Grace Period: Not mentioned in state statutes.
- Non-Payment of Rent (§ 59.12.030(3)): Fourteen (14) Days
- Lease Non-Compliance (§ 59.12.030(4)): Ten (10) Days
- Periodic Tenancy Termination (§ 59.18.200(1)(a)): Minimum Twenty (20) Days
- Nuisance, Waste, Unlawful Business, Illegal Activity (§ 59.12.030(5)+(7)): Three (3) Days
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.
- 3-Day Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity
- 10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 20-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Tenancy
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.
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.