My Landlord Just Gave Me a 14-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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If you rent the place where you live and you got a 14-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate from your landlord, learn what that is and what you should do about it. #6353EN
- I live in the state of Washington, should I read this?
- What will you learn by reading this?
- What is a 14-day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate?
- Does the termination notice have to be delivered in a certain way?
- Can the landlord evict me just by giving me this notice?
- Even if I owe the rent, can I ask a judge for a payment plan?
- I don't think I owe the rent, what should I do?
- Get Legal Help
*Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.
I live in the state of Washington, should I read this?
Yes, if you rent the place where you live and you just got a 14-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate, saying that you owe rent, and must pay the amount owed within 14 days or move out.
No, if you own the mobile home you live in, and rent the lot. Read My Manufactured/Mobile Home Park Landlord Just Gave Me a 14-Day Notice to Pay or Vacate! and talk to a lawyer right away. Contact information is below.
*COVID-19 Update! Eviction law is changing quickly. There are temporary bans and changes to how courts handle evictions. Things may be different depending on where you live. Get the latest information and learn about help for evictions in your area at WashingtonLawHelp.org: Coronavirus (COVID-19): There are only a few reasons your landlord can evict you right now
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 14-day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate?
This notice is a warning from your landlord. If you fall behind in rent and/or on your deposit installment plan with the landlord, the landlord may give you a 14-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate.
This notice has to tell you exactly how much you owe. You must then pay what you owe by the end of the 14 days. If you do not, the landlord may start an eviction lawsuit against you.
Does the termination notice have to be delivered in a certain way?
Yes. The landlord (or their employee or another adult) can "personally serve" you at home by handing the notice to you. 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.
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 14-day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate is one type of termination notice.
If you are still living in the place after 14 days, and the landlord believes you are still behind in rent, the landlord may then start an eviction lawsuit.
The landlord must win an eviction lawsuit and get a judge to sign an order directing the sheriff to evict you.
Even if I owe the rent, can I ask a judge for a payment plan?
Yes, you can ask the judge for a payment plan to get more time to pay. Be ready to explain to the judge why you fell behind in rent or payments on your deposit installment plan, how soon you could pay what you owe, if you have fallen behind before, and how much hardship you will suffer if you are evicted. Talk to a lawyer right away for help getting ready to go to court. See contact information below.
*If family or friends can help you, take the help. Being able to pay the rent might stop the eviction.
I don't think I owe the rent, what should I do?
If you want to fight the eviction lawsuit, talk to a lawyer right away. You will need to be able to prove your case in court. This means presenting evidence proving you do not owe the rent. It can also mean having witnesses who have personal knowledge about the facts testify. A lawyer can help you with these things. See contact information below.
You might be able to get other help paying the rent or the payment plan.
Try calling 2-1-1 or visit wa211.org.
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has programs you might be eligible for. Go to www.washingtonconnection.org to apply online, or call the DSHS customer service contact center at 877-501-2233.
Check online at www.wapartnership.org/get-help/find-by-list for a community action agency near you.
Check online for an Associate Economic Development Organization (ADO) near you: www.commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/local-economic-partnerships.
Get Legal Help
Eviction laws and the ways courts are handling the COVID-19 crisis may change quickly and be different depending on where you live. Get the latest information and learn about help for evictions in your area on WashingtonLawHelp.org.
Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help.