The legal actions of a landlord to have a tenant removed from her rental property is called an eviction. In Washington, specific procedures and strict rules must be followed.
A landlord must give her tenant proper notice to vacate the premises. The landlord must serve the eviction notice using specific procedures.
Landlords Prohibited From Locking Tenant Out
Landlords are prohibited from locking a tenant out of the rental premises and cannot take the tenant's property because of nonpayment of rent.
Landlord Must File a Lawsuit
When a tenant does not vacate after receiving proper notice, the landlord must file a lawsuit to have the tenant removed.
Tenant Entitled to Court Hearing
If the tenant disputes the reasons for the eviction, the tenant can file additional paperwork with the courts to instigate a court hearing.
Sheriff Can Physically Evict Tenant
If the tenant loses a court hearing, the landlord cannot evict the tenant himself. The sheriff would be ordered to physically evict a tenant and the tenant's property in the unit. The sheriff can physically remove the tenant after an "unlawful detainer lawsuit" has been filed.
Successful Party Can Recoup Lawyer Fees
In an eviction dispute, the successful party is entitled to recoup court costs and attorney fees.