I’m a Washington landlord with a difficult tenant. I’ve given the tenant the proper Washington termination notice, but he still won’t leave. What next? What is the Washington eviction process?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you have already lawfully served the tenant with any one of the available Washington termination notices and the tenant still will not leave, you may begin a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the appropriate Superior Court. A filing fee may apply. A copy of the complaint will be served on the tenant by the court. At trial, after considering all the evidence brought by both you and the tenant, the judge or jury (if a jury is requested) will decide whom to grant possession of the property and what costs will be awarded. If the landlord wins, the tenant will be given five days to pay past due rent in the case of nonpayment. Otherwise, the court will issue a Writ of Restitution allowing for the removal of the tenant. The sheriff will then serve the writ on the tenant, giving them three working days to vacate. If the tenant does not vacate, you will need to contact the sheriff to request removal. In the case of a physical eviction, you may be required to provide the needed personnel to remove the tenant’s belongings at the direction of the sheriff. If the tenant is not present, you may be required to store their belongings for a certain number of days in order to allow the tenant time to remove them. If at any time you feel you are in need of specialized legal advice on these procedures, you can always seek out an experienced Washington evictions attorney.

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