5 Tips for Running an Effective Eviction Process

October 25, 2023

Evictions are incredibly stressful for everyone involved. In Washington state, residential tenants have many rights that can allow them to remain in a property for what may seem like an eternity. While these tenants still owe the rent on the property, they will continue to occupy the property during the eviction process, often without paying rent. Experience shows that many housing providers never see a dime of the rent that accrues during the eviction. Even worse, some people have become “professional tenants,” experts at milking the system and living rent free as they bounce between properties. 

In Washington state, housing rights activists have become proficient at using technicalities, administrative errors, and other methods to drag out the eviction process at the expense of the housing provider. Even a small mistake can result in a dismissal, forcing the housing provider to start the eviction process from the beginning and costing them thousands of dollars in legal fees and missed rent payments. Current legislation already makes it difficult to win an eviction decision in Washington, but some common mistakes can result in additional months or even years of unpaid rent. In this blog post, we will share our 5 most effective tips to increase the chances of a successful eviction. 


#1 – Using the correct forms  

Unfortunately for housing providers, eviction laws in Washington state have changed significantly over the past decade. To add more complexity to the mix, different cities may require different forms to be served and renters with housing subsidies like Section 8 may require service of different forms or additional language in the forms. Failure to serve the correct forms or the correct language may be grounds for your case to get dismissed. 

Housing providers need to ensure that their actual eviction notice is compliant. Some housing providers served their renters 3-day notices or 20-day notices, neither of which are compliant with the most recent RCWs. In Washington state, housing providers usually issue a 14-day notice or a 30-day notice to Pay or Vacate. There are additional rules and restrictions when it comes to Notices to Terminate Tenancy as Washington state law requires “just cause” to terminate a rental agreement. Contact us if you have questions about required forms for your eviction process. 


#2 – Serving the notices properly 

Some housing providers attempt to serve notices themselves, a practice that can often lead to unintended slip-ups that result in a case dismissal. Some of the most common process service mistakes include not serving enough copies and/or not serving additional required city notices. We recommend working with a licensed professional process server to make sure that all the required documents and notices are served in compliance with all relevant regulations. 


#3 – Gathering all the required documents 

Many renters will continue to fight the eviction after all required notices have been properly served. Often, these cases will need to be settled in court. Before preparing for the courtroom, a housing provider should focus on gathering all the required documents. Documents include:

  • Signed lease agreement 
  • Rental increase notice (if applicable) 
  • Housing assistance paperwork 
  • Ledger 
  • Notices served 
  • Process service documents 
  • Rental business license (if applicable)
  • Any additional evidence or documentation 


#4 – Preparing for the court hearing 

Housing providers are encouraged to review the tenant's file thoroughly before the hearing. Plaintiffs will be testifying under oath about their personal knowledge of the matter. We recommend housing providers answer only the questions asked and not to get sidetracked in providing information not relevant to the question. Housing providers are also encouraged to visit the unit in question the day before the hearing to visibly verify that the renter has not yet vacated the property. In court, you can expect to be asked some of the following questions: 

  • What is your relationship/connection to the property? 
  • Who is currently the tenant at that unit/address? 
  • Are you familiar with the tenant's rental history at that address? 
  • When did the tenant begin leasing that property from you? 
  • What is the monthly rent? 
  • Are there any other recurring monthly charges due under the lease? 
  • Is the tenant current on monthly rent payments as of right now?  
  • For what months have they not paid rent? 
  • Have you received any partial rent payments during that time? 
  • Are they still delinquent in the rent they owe as of right now? 
  • Are they still residing on the property as of right now? 
  • How do you know these tenants/occupants are still there right now? 


#5 – Consulting with an expert 

The eviction process can be challenging to manage, and mistakes can prove costly. If this all seems like too much to handle, let LandlordSolutions help you manage your eviction process. Contact us about your upcoming eviction and let us do the heavy lifting! 

Ready To Kick The Frustration Of Figuring It Out On Your Own?


LandlordSolutions does not provide legal advice. The information we provide is general information for landlords. If you need legal advice or have questions about the application of the law in a particular matter, you should consult a lawyer.

LandlordSolutions, Inc. © 2023. All Rights Reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram