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WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

I live in a motel or hotel. The owner is threatening to kick me out!

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
Read this in:
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For anyone who’s been living in a motel or hotel since the pandemic started in March 2020. #6902EN


Please Note:

*Read this only if you live in Washington State. 

*Eviction law continues to change. Read about the latest changes to the law at Washington LawHelp's Eviction page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I live in a motel or hotel as my only housing. What are my rights? +

Your landlord cannot just lock you out. You may also have the same rights as a tenant in an apartment. For example:

  • Do you pay monthly rent?

  • Do you not use housekeeping services?

  • Have you lived there for longer than 30 days?

The more your situation looks like a regular rental situation, the more likely you are a tenant with the legal protections a tenant has—like a court process for evictions.

Your hotel or motel might actually be rental housing. The Department of Health inspects and licenses housing for temporary visitors, like hotels and motels. A licensed hotel or motel is required to post their license in the lobby. If your hotel or motel isn’t inspected or licensed, you might have even more protections under the Residential Landlord Tenant Act.

I heard that new housing laws and the eviction bridge don’t protect me. +

The Governor’s eviction “bridge” and a new law passed by the state legislature create protections for renters who are behind on rent. These did not include people who live in a motel or hotel as their permanent housing after March 1, 2020. However, you could still be a renter, and have protections to not be locked out.

So what rights do I have? +

If you began living in a hotel or motel after March 1, 2020, you still have these rights:

  • If the motel or hotel says you owe rent and wants to remove you, they must give you a 7-day notice. (That notice must give you a legal help phone number and a link to Washington LawHelp, where you can find legal information on evictions questions and these kinds of fact sheets.)

  • If they don’t give you this 7-day notice, you might have the right to a repayment plan for your rent if they give you a different notice demanding rent. Call a lawyer for advice.

  • If they do give you a 7-day notice, you still have the right to not be locked out. Call the Eviction Defense Line below for legal advice, and tell the hotel that they can’t lock you out without going to court first. Read Can My Landlord Do That?

  • If the hotel or motel locks you out, call the Eviction Defense Line right away. Read My Landlord Locked Me Out: What Can I Do? to learn more.

Get Legal Help +

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

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Last Review and Update: Oct 04, 2021