When you have unwanted tenants you need to get rid of, Acres Real Estate helps protect your property investments by completing the eviction in the fastest time possible.
The eviction process usually involves three phases:
A notice is given to the tenant
A proper service of a 3-day, 10-day or 20-day notice is the first step in the eviction
process. If, after the statutory period of time, the tenant fails to vacate, pay rent or comply,
he is guilty of unlawfully detaining your property by denying you the possession of it.
Start a lawsuit, which will lead to the eviction of the tenant and restore possession to you
The lawsuit is called an unlawful detainer action. Unlawful detainer lawsuits start with the preparation and service of a summons and complaint. The complaint states why the tenant should be evicted and the summons directs the tenant to respond to the complaint within a specified period of time. If the tenant does not respond, the landlord will obtain a default judgment from the court.
Note: In most cases, the unlawful detainer action cannot be started until the tenant has been given the required legal notice. In the state of Washington, an unlawful detainer action is complex and has several procedural requirements
Enforcement of the judgment through a sheriff’s eviction restoring possession of the premises to the landlord, and possibly a collection of a money judgment.
An order directing the county sheriff to appear at the property and keep the
peace while the tenant and the tenant’s possessions are physically removed from the property.
Often, along with the writ the landlord will also receive a judgment against the tenant for any
damages suffered, rent owing, court costs and attorney fees. Getting the judgment and collecting
it are two different matters. If the tenant has to be evicted for non-payment, he most often does
not have money or property to pay you with and is “judgment proof”. In other words, he cannot
pay, and your goal should be to remove him from the premises as soon as possible
Depending on the county where the property is located, the entire eviction process usually takes
about 30 days. This is if a writ is issued on the first request and the case does not require a trial to
determine the merits of a defense raised by the tenant. Rarely does an eviction go all the way to
physical removal of the tenant and or their belongings from the property. The tenant usually
leaves sometime prior to this happening. If the tenants are savvy to the eviction process, they
may wait until the day before the sheriff shows up, but often the service of the summons and
complaint will be enough to prompt the tenant to vacate.
What are the resons for eviction?
The most common reason for eviction is not paying rent – including repeated late payment of rent or bounced rent checks.
There can be several reasons for eviction however, that go beyond not paying rent and other fees agreed to in their rental or lease agreement. These can include causing disturbances and nuisances for other tenants, degrading the living conditions of others by accumulating waste on the property, or criminal activity like selling drugs. This can be legally bound with the type of rental or lease agreement you have with the tenant, or if you are under rent control.
For example, if tenants are not complying with the terms of their rental agreement or lease, you can serve an Eviction Notice based upon non-compliance. This is usually a 3 Day Notice to Perform or Quit based upon specific elements of their agreement they are not complying with.
People can also be evicted if they are still holding possession of a property after a lease agreement has expired. If the owner doesn’t want to renew the tenant’s lease – and providing the landlord has not accepted payment of rent after the expiration of the lease agreement – we can file an Unlawful Detainer based upon the tenant holding over after the lease agreement has expired.
What is an eviction notice?
An Eviction Notice is a written letter to either comply with your rental or lease agreement or vacate the property. Serving an Eviction Notice gives you the option to file an Unlawful Detainer in a court of law against the tenant, if they fail to comply.
3-DAY NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR VACATE: This notice is used in the case of non-payment or even partial payment of rent. Rent has to be due and owing to use this notice. It gives the tenant two choices. First choice is to either pay the full amount of rent and other charges due or second choice is to vacate the premises. Talking to your tenant or sending a past due rent notice is advisable prior to serving the strongly worded 3-day notice.
During the 3-day period the landlord may refuse partial rent payment, but must accept full rent payment. If the landlord does accept partial payment it may render the notice void. The landlord may have to serve a new notice and start the clock over again on the 3-day time period. Once the statutory 3-day period has expired, the landlord may refuse full payment and proceed with the eviction process.
3-DAY NOTICE TO TERMINATE TENANCY: This notice is used in cases of waste, nuisance and illegal use of the rental unit by the tenant. It gives the tenant only one choice, which is; they have three days (or four days depending on the method of service) to move out. It is used only in extreme situations where the landlord is forced to take extreme measures. As a rule of thumb, this notice should only be served if the situation is life threatening or there is proven drug related activity taking place on the rental property
Remember, when using this notice, the burden of proof is on you should the issue ever go to court. The tenant may contest the eviction. Make sure that the situation is very severe and warrants this notice; then make sure that you can prove your case if needed. Documentation and other witnesses who are willing to testify are essential if you are to prevail in court.
NOTICE TO COMPLY WITH THE RENTAL AGREEMENT: Commonly called the 10-day notice, it gives the tenant 10 days to comply with the conditions, rules, or regulations outlined in your rental agreement or vacate the rental. This notice is usually preceded by verbal and or written warnings for violations of the rental agreement. Types of violations may include loud parties, junk cars on the premises, extra occupants in the unit, garbage piled in the carport, etc. Quite often the tenants will take care of the problem and behave themselves once they are served this notice. If they do not, you may then proceed with an eviction after the expiration of the 10 days.
Accepting the rent during the 10 day period may constitute a waiver and invalidate the notice. If you are serious about proceeding with the eviction, refuse the rent unless the tenant fully complies with the notice within the 10 day period. Once again, if it should come to a legal action, the burden of proof is on you.
20-DAY NOTICE TO TERMINATE:With the notable exception of the City of Seattle, a periodic (month to month) tenancy can be terminated for any reason, except retaliation or discrimination. The tenant only has one choice when served this notice; he must move out by the end of the rental period. If your property is located inside the Seattle city limits, you must comply with Seattle’s “Just Cause Ordinance”. You may only issue a 20-day notice under very specific conditions in the City of Seattle. These conditions are outlined in this packet, however local laws are continually changing. Check the county and or city ordinances where your property is located to see if there are any ordinances, which affect the operation of your rental business.
This notice must be given at least 20 days prior to the end of the rental period. Do not count the day you serve the notice. If possible, it is a good practice to allow more than the mandatory 20 days. The notice may be served at anytime, provided it meets the 20 day minimum time frame.
How to serve eviction notice?
Personal Service: A notice may be handed (served) to a tenant if you know there is only one tenant living in your rental unit. You can serve the notice to this person anywhere – you do not need to be physically at the rental unit. However, it is preferable to serve the tenant at the unit.
Substitute Service: Take the notice to the rental unit, knock on the door and serve the notice to a “person of suitable age and discretion”, then mail a copy of the notice to the tenant.
Suitable age and discretion are judgment calls on your part. Never leave a notice with a young child or an individual who is obviously not able to comprehend what is happening. If this is the case, proceed to serve notice by the 3rd method.
Posting: Tack a copy of the notice in a “visible place” on the rental unit (usually the front door) and mail a copy to the tenant.