How to Serve an Eviction Notice Letter the Right Way

By Real Property Associates

Serving an eviction notice letter is not something a property owner takes lightly. It's also not a task that is quickly and easily done when it becomes apparent that a tenant needs to be removed from a property. 

There are many steps involved in correctly completing the eviction process. The most important aspect of a landlord dealing with an eviction is ensuring everything is handled legally. If not, rental property owners can face legal issues. So, what's the right way to serve an eviction notice to start the process? Our expert Seattle property managers offer insights today!

Types of Eviction Notices

If you're at the point where you know that an eviction notice letter is your next step, it's helpful to know the different types of notices and how to apply them to the correct situation. 

14-Day Vacate Notice

A 14-day eviction notice warns the tenant to pay the rent within 14 days, or the eviction process will move forward. However, this doesn't mean the tenant leaves in 14 days. Additional steps are involved to remove the tenant if they don't comply. 

10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

Sometimes tenants don't follow the lease rules or regulations. When this occurs, send them a 10-day notice to comply or vacate. This notice allows them ten days to correct the issue. They can leave the rental unit if they don't wish to comply with the lease terms. 

3-Day Notice for Waste, Nuisance, or Illegal Activity

A public nuisance may involve a variety of issues. For example, if someone is destroying property or committing illegal acts on the property, those actions can constitute a public nuisance. 

With a 3-day notice, the person is not allowed time to correct the problem because of its serious nature. They must leave the property within three days or face the legal eviction.

No-Cause Notice

When renting properties using a month-to-month lease agreement, a landlord may ask a tenant to vacate the home for no cause or reason. In this situation, you must give the tenant a 30-day notice to vacate.

Close-up Of An Eviction Notice In Envelope on Desk

Can I Evict a Tenant for Any Cause?

Landlords need a reason to evict a tenant if a lease exists. Some of the reasons property owners can remove tenants include:

  • Failure to make rent payments
  • Lease agreement violations
  • Participating in nuisance behavior, such as illegal activity or destruction of property

If you're unsure you have a valid reason for removal, work with Seattle property management experts and your lawyer before delivering a notice to the renter. 

What's the Timeline for Handling an Eviction?

Whether you're serving a 30-day notice to vacate or a 14-day notice, most evictions follow a general timeline. By following the proper eviction timeline steps, you can stay within the legal parameters. 

In general, the timeline for handling an eviction is:

  • A property owner serves the tenant with a letter about a violation.
  • The tenant has the time to comply or correct the problem.
  • If the tenant doesn't fix the issue, it's time to prepare the eviction papers. You could also hire an attorney to help during this phase.
  • Move forward with a process server to deliver the eviction notice letter.
  • Sometimes, the tenant may have time to respond to the notice.
  • Schedule a court hearing if the tenant doesn't respond or make the corrections.
  • Attend the court hearing.
  • A judge will hear the evidence and testimony.
  • The judge decides whether there is a case for eviction. If all the appropriate steps were followed and the landlord had just cause for it, eviction is usually granted.
  • If the tenant does not comply with the order, the sheriff removes the resident. 

Property managers can help you work through this process to minimize stress and improve the outcome of removing a renter while following the law. 

Packed household stuff for moving into new house

Tips for Removing a Renter the Right Way

While following the law is crucial, a few additional tips can ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. A property management company recommends: 

  • Review the lease or rental agreement to check for anything that could be out of order before you take action.
  • Check the eviction laws in your area so you are sure to follow them correctly.
  • Talking to a lawyer. 
  • Having a property management advisor help with the various paperwork notices.
  • Do not send notices until you check the law.
  • Keeping all communications with the tenant professional and non-confrontational.
  • Not trying to remove the tenant yourself.
  • Not touching the tenant's items or changing the locks on the property.
  • Not making up any new rules that are not in the lease.

When property owners work with rental management experts, they don't have to get involved in eviction!

Get Help From a Seattle Property Management Team for the Eviction Process

Evicting a tenant can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be! It's wise to enlist the help of a Seattle property management team to navigate the legal process so you don't have to worry about getting it wrong or facing additional legal challenges. Real Property Associates has experience dealing with evictions and tenant management. Reach out to learn more about our property management services!

Get more insights into the legal eviction process! Download a free copy of the "Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist."
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