My Landlord Just Gave me a 20-Day Notice

If you rent the place where you live and you got a 20-Day Notice from your landlord, learn what that is and what you should do about it. #6355EN

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*Read this only if you live in Washington State.

*Eviction law continues to change. Read about the latest changes to eviction laws.


I live in Washington State, should I read this?

Yes, if you rent the place where you live and you just got a 20-Day Notice to Vacate (move).

No, if you own the mobile home you live in, and rent the lot. Instead, read My Landlord Just Threatened to Evict Me from my Manufactured/Mobile Home Park and talk to a lawyer right away.  Contact information is below.


What will you learn by reading this?

  • What this notice is

  • What to do if you get this notice from your landlord

  • Where to get legal help


What is a 20-Day Notice?

It is a warning from your landlord that they want you to move out. Tenants will usually get this notice on the 10th of the month before your rental agreement ends (expires).


When can my landlord give me a 20-Day Notice?

New in 2021! State law has changed. Before, a landlord could give you a 20-Day Notice whenever you had a month-to-month tenancy. The landlord didn’t need a reason to give you this type of notice.

Now, here is when your landlord can give you a 20-Day Notice:

  • You and the landlord share a dwelling unit (house or apartment), kitchen or bathroom.

  • The landlord believes you havemade unwanted sexual advances towards or sexually harassed the property owner, a manager, or another tenant, in violation of the lease.

  • The landlord believes you have harassed the landlord, an employee or another tenant on the basis of race, gender or another protected status.

*The landlord must give you this notice before the end of the rental term, if you have a lease or rental agreement, or before the end of the rental period, if you are renting month to month, for example.


Does this notice have to be delivered in a certain way?

The landlord (or their employee or another adult) can “personally serve” you at home by handing you the notice. The landlord can also hand it to another adult or older teenager living with you. The landlord can also tape it on your door, but then they must also mail a copy to you.

  • *The notice does not have to be notarized.

  • *Notice by email, voicemail, or text does not count to start an eviction lawsuit.


Can the landlord evict me just by giving me this notice?

No. Washington State does not let landlords evict tenants without following the proper court eviction process. The landlord must give you a proper written “termination” notice before starting an eviction lawsuit. The 20-Day Notice is one type of this notice.

If you are still living in the place after 20 days, the landlord must then start an eviction court case.

The landlord must win that court case and get a judge to sign an order directing the sheriff to evict you. Only the sheriff can formally evict you or change the locks on the rental.


My landlord gave me a 20-Day Notice. We do not share a dwelling unit, kitchen or bathroom. The notice does not accuse me of harassment. I asked the landlord why I got this notice. He says he just wants me to move.

Talk to a lawyer right away. See contact information below. This could be a defense to an eviction lawsuit.


I got a 20-Day Notice. It accuses me of harassing another tenant. This is not true.

If you want to fight the eviction court case, talk to a lawyer right away. You will need to be able to prove your case in court. This means giving the court evidence proving you did not harass the other tenant. It can also mean having witnesses with personal knowledge about the facts testify. A lawyer can help you with these things. See contact information below.


Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Aug 04, 2021
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