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WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

My Landlord Just Threatened to Evict Me

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project

If you rent the place where you live and your landlord just threatened to evict you, read this to learn what to do. #6349EN

Contents

Read Online

 

*Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.

* 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  Coronavirus (COVID-19): There are only a few reasons your landlord can evict you right now

 

Should I read this?

Yes, if you rent the place where you live and you just got a verbal threat, text message, or written eviction notice from your landlord. 

No, if you live in a mobile home park and own your home but rent the lot. In that case, read My landlord Just Threatened to Evict Me from My Manufactured/mobile Home Park and see "Get Legal Help" contact information below.

 

Can my landlord evict me just by sending a text or verbally threatening me?

No. Washington state does not let landlords evict tenants without following the proper court eviction process. Your landlord must win an eviction lawsuit against you and then get a judge to sign an order directing the sheriff to evict you.

 

When can my landlord start an eviction lawsuit?

Your landlord can start an eviction lawsuit only for certain good reasons.  For example, if you get behind on rent, break other terms of the lease agreement, or stay longer than the term (length) of the lease without the landlord's permission. 

 

How does the legal eviction process start?

Your landlord must give you a proper written "termination notice" before starting an eviction lawsuit. Verbal threats, phone calls, voicemails, emails, and text messages are not proper termination notices.

 

What is a proper termination notice?

 

It depends on why the landlord is trying to evict you.

These "termination notices" are warnings from the landlord. If you ignore them, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit against you and it can go on your record.

In all these cases, you should try to get legal help right away. See contact information at the end of this document.

 

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  who lives with you. The landlord can also tape it on your door, but then they must also mail you a copy.

A verbal termination notice in person, by phone or by voicemail, or a written notice by text or email, is not proper and does not start an eviction lawsuit.

*The termination notice does not have to be notarized.

 

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. 

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Last Review and Update: Nov 12, 2020
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