Washington law specifies the circumstances under which a landlord may evict a tenant in a process, known as an “unlawful detainer action.” Sufficient grounds for eviction include:
Failing to pay rent
Violating the rental agreement
Creating waste or nuisance
Refusing to relinquish control of the property after the end of the lease term
Allowing gang-related or other unlawful activities to take place on the leased property
If a tenant commits any of the above violations and continues to occupy the rental property, despite receiving an eviction notice from the landlord, the landlord may initiate suit to evict the tenant. To begin this process, the landlord is required to deliver an “Evictions Summons” and a “Complaint for Unlawful Detainer” to the tenant. These documents must be in a specific form required by law and delivered through either in-hand service to the tenant, or through a combination of service to a person at the tenant’s home and by mailing the documents to the tenant.
The tenant must either answer the summons or file a notice of appearance within the allotted two weeks’ response time, or the landlord will be awarded a default judgment. If the tenant answers, a landlord may request to hold a “show cause” hearing within one month of the date of service of the tenant, where the landlord specifies the reasons why he or she should be handed back the contested property immediately. If the landlord has successfully proven that there are no genuine issues of fact, he may be granted repossession of the property and the tenant will be evicted. If factual issues exist, a jury trial may be scheduled.
If you are a property owner struggling with a tenant who is violating the terms of your rental agreement, the attorneys at DC Law Group can help you determine your rights and responsibilities under residential eviction or commercial eviction law and get your property back. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation.