If you need to remove a tenant for non-payment of rent or a violation of some other lease term, the process is referred to as an eviction or unlawful detainer action. The process of evicting a tenant is pretty straight forward when done correctly.
Your first step is to serve a notice. It needs to be a 3 Day Notice or a 10 Day Notice. The Three Day Notice would be used for nonpayment of rent, and the 10 Day Notice would be used for other lease violations like an unauthorized pet. After that notice has been served and the 3 or 10 day time period has expired, do an occupancy check or verify that the tenant has remedied the violation or moved out. This remedy is either paying rent or removing the unauthorized pet.
Filing a Summons and Complaint
If your tenants are still in the property and they have not remedied the situation, you need to move on to a Summons and Complaint. This is served to the tenant, and there’s a response time where the tenants can argue their side of the story. Most times, however, tenants choose not to respond, and the would be in default. A case will be filed and a judgement and writ of restitution will be prepared and filed in the Court by your attorney.
If the tenant does respond in writing, your attorney will set a date for the Show Cause hearing. At that hearing the Judge will decide the outcome of the case.
If a Writ issued, the sheriff will post that writ on the tenant’s door, and then the tenant has three business days to remove their items and get out of the property. If they don’t get out after those three days, the sheriff will schedule a physical eviction.
The average amount it takes to complete an eviction can be is as little as three and a half weeks if there is no tenant response, to as many as six weeks if the tenant fights the eviction. Be careful, because if you do something incorrectly, such as improper service or improper calculation of the response times, you could have to start over again from the beginning.
Property Management Redmond: Preventing Eviction
When you’re finding tenants, and renting a property, you want to set yourself up to avoid evictions all together.
First, make sure you’re doing a proper screening of the tenant. A comprehensive background check is a must, so you know who you’re putting in your property. Were at SJA Property Management we screen for credit, employment, rental history, sex offender history, debt to income ratio and income to rent ratio, as well as criminal history. By doing this we know that there is a high probability the tenant will pay on time and protect the property.
Make sure leases are valid and executed properly. Go through the lease in detail with the tenants so they understand you’ll be enforcing the document and it will govern the time they’re spending at the property. Setting clear expectations is key.
Enforce the lease consistently. If there is a lease violation, make sure you’re serving your notices quickly, adhering to your late fee policy, and being consistent and fair. Doing that sets a good precedent. The tenants understand it’s a business relationship, and if the end is not fulfilled, they will be removed from the property. Tenants are more apt to pay on time, take good care of the property, and adhere to the lease terms when you are fair and they know what to expect.
This is how we operate here. We are fair, but we also enforce the four corners of the lease document. It’s better for the tenants and owners.
If you’d like some more information about the eviction process or Redmond property management services, please contact us at SJA Property Management. We provide property management services for Seattle and all surrounding Cities.