Although many tenants generally have a strong financial interest in paying their rent on time, it’s not uncommon, during this time of uncertainty, for tenants to encounter serious problems that compromise their ability to pay their bills. When a tenant is unable to pay their rent, the landlord can be forced to pursue legal action. Most evictions can be handled under Washington’s Unlawful Detainer status, providing relatively fast action by the court and interpretation that is strictly in favor of tenants. It is illegal for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant without going through an unlawful detainer eviction in court. The process for which an unlawful detainer process begins is strategic and can be successfully or unsuccessful given the language of notices, methods of service of notices, time frames and types of claims that are raised.

Currently evictions are on hold in Washington due to the pandemic. There are many more requirements of landlords prior to evicting tenants. Landlords also should avail themselves of the funds available to compensate for tenants that are not paying. We are watching this situation carefully and our clients will be able to proceed with evictions immediately upon approval from the state.