Eviction Process in Washington
If you are being evicted in the state of Washington, you may not know how to proceed. Learning about the eviction process in Washington can help you understand your rights and options under the law. After reading this guide, you will understand the steps involved in the eviction process in Washington and how long each step will take.
If your landlord wants to begin the eviction process in Washington, he or she must first serve you with the proper amount of notice. Washington's landlord/tenant laws specify differing notice times depending on why your landlord wishes to evict you.
For tenants who are late to pay rent, the state of Washington requires that landlords provide a three-day notice. If you receive such a notice, you have three days to pay all late rent and associated late fees before your landlord is allowed to file an eviction suit in a court of law. The eviction process in Washington stops if you pay your rent in this time—your landlord is required to reinstate your tenancy in full.
If you have violated one or more terms of your lease agreement, your landlord will provide you with a ten-day notice to comply with the terms of your lease or face eviction proceedings. This gives you time to repair damage, re-home an unauthorized pet, or otherwise make an arrangement with the landlord to keep your home.
If you are causing a “nuisance” on the property, however, your landlord does not need to allow you time to correct it. You will be given a notice that gives you three days to leave or face eviction.
Court Filings and Hearings
The next step in the eviction process in Washington occurs when the notice period has expired. Your landlord will file a complaint at the local courthouse. A copy of the complaint, which details why you are being evicted, and the summons, which tells you how to contact the courthouse for a hearing, will be served to you.
You are not required to make any response to the complaint and summons. However, if you do not answer the complaint within the time specified on the summons (this will usually be a week), your landlord will win the eviction suit automatically.
If you do make a response—even by phoning the courthouse—you will be entitled to a hearing in a court of law. This step of the eviction process in Washington allows you and your landlord to make arguments in front of a judge. If your landlord has behaved improperly (for instance, by discriminating against you or giving you improper notice), you may be able to win the eviction suit. Talk to a lawyer with experience with the eviction process in Washington for more information on your legal options and rights.
Writ of Restitution
If your landlord wins at the hearing, or if you never answer the summons, your landlord will be issued with a writ of restitution. This writ will be served to you on your property and specifies that you will have three days to vacate the premises or face forcible eviction. If at the end of the three-day period you have still not vacated, the sheriff is allowed to evict you using any means necessary.