Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) in Washington
An unlawful detainer action is a court proceeding designed to give landlords an efficient, cost-effective means to evict a tenant for breach of a lease agreement or other unlawful activities at the leased property (i.e. gang related activity, illegal activity, or waste). Residential evictions are generally governed by Chapter 59.12 RCW and the Residential Landlord Tenant Act, RCW 59.18 et. seq.
Washington law allows a landlord to start an unlawful detainer (eviction) action against a tenant in specific circumstances, including but not limited to:
- Holding over after expiration of a lease term.
- Holding over after termination of a month-to-month lease
- Non-payment of rent
- Breach of the lease other than non-payment of rent
- Damaging the premises (committing or allowing waste)
- Engaging in unlawful business on the premises
- Committing or permitting a nuisance on the premises
While an unlawful detainer action can assist a landlord in regaining possession of leased property efficiently, a landlord must strictly comply with statutory requirements to successfully complete an eviction. Statutory requirements include serving proper notices and complying with a fixed timeline for each step of the proceeding. A landlord’s failure to strictly comply with the statute can result in dismissal of the unlawful detainer action. This generally means the landlord has to “start all over again,” incurring additional cost and expense. If you are contemplating becoming a landlord, are having difficulties with a tenant, or have questions about evicting a tenant, a Spokane real estate attorney can help. Wolff, Hislop & Crockett has significant experience in commercial and residential evictions and prides itself on being a trusted legal resource for landlords in the Spokane, Spokane Valley, and Liberty Lake areas and beyond.
Contact us today for a consultation.