Washington Eviction Process

When you are done reading about the Washington Eviction Process below, we recommend you purchase the corresponding Washington Eviction Notice to be delivered to your Tenant.


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Washington State Eviction Laws

The Eviction laws in Washington State are contained in Chapter 59.18 of the WRC (Washington Revised Code), which is called the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. This law contains all the rules governing relationships between landlords and tenants in Washington. If you are a landlord in Washington State, it is highly recommended that you take the time to familiarize yourself with these laws.


Washington State Eviction Notice

The first step in the Washington eviction process is the landlord serving the tenant with an eviction notice form. The eviction notice in Washington is called a “3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate” if the landlord is evicting for non-payment of rent (most common reason). If the landlord is evicting the tenant for breaking the rules in the rental agreement (unauthorized pets, etc.), then the landlord needs to serve the tenant with a 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This will give the tenant 10 days to fix the problem, or else the landlord can sue for eviction. If the landlord is evicting the tenant for creating a “waste or nuisance” (property damage, drug activity, etc.), then the landlord needs to serve the tenant with a “3-Day Notice to Vacate” (there is no opportunity for the tenant to cure the problem, they simply must leave or be sued for eviction). If a landlord simply does not want to renew the lease with a tenant, he must give the tenant a 20-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy (must be given to tenant at lease 20 days before the end of the lease).


Serving the Eviction Notice

In the State of Washington, the landlord must first attempt to serve (deliver) the eviction notice to the tenant in person. If the tenant is not home, the landlord can leave the notice with someone at the property, AND mail a copy (the landlord must do both to make this effective). If no person is at the property, the landlord can post the notice on the property AND mail it (again, the landlord must do both). It is usually best for the landlord and a witness to personally serve the notice on the tenant.


Complaint for Unlawful Detainer

After the landlord serves the tenant with the notice, and the tenant has failed to comply, the landlord must seek relief in court. The landlord should go to the Superior Court for the jurisdiction where the property sits, and ask to file a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer. There will be a filing fee to file the complaint. The Court will then issue an Eviction Summons which will be served upon the tenant. The tenant will have a certain amount of time to answer the summons. If they do not answer, then the landlord wins by default. If the tenant does answer, then the court may want the landlord and tenant to appear at a “Show Cause Hearing.”


Show Cause Hearing

This is a hearing where the landlord and tenant will each have an opportunity to prove their case and tell their side of the story. The judge will give instructions on how the hearing will go. The landlord should bring all evidence necessary to prove their case, including witnesses, photographs, documents, (the lease and eviction notice), etc. At the end of the hearing, the judge will make a decision. If the judge rules for the tenant, then the tenant can stay. If the judge rules for the landlord, then the tenant will have to move. The judge may also award the landlord money, for back rent, damages, etc. Rarely, the judge will want to have a full blown trial to decide the outcome, which must happen within 30 days.


Writ of Restitution

When the judge rules against the tenant, the judge will tell the tenant when they must leave. If the tenant is still in possession of the property after that date, the landlord should go to the court clerk and request a “Writ of Restitution.” The sheriff will then deliver this “Writ of Restitution” to the tenant, which will tell the tenant to leave in a certain number of days, or else the sheriff will physically remove them.

Next Step: We recommend you purchase the corresponding Washington Eviction Notice to be delivered to your Tenant.

This site strives to have the most current information on state eviction laws and forms, however, legislatures and judges’ rulings are always changing the laws. The information on this site is to be used as a guide, and is not to be used as legal advice, or as a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you believe any information on this site is incorrect or needs to be updated, please Contact Us immediately.