Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

I live in Washington State. I work / live in one part of the state and own a house in another. I have allowed my ex-wife to live in the house for a number of years due to here low income. I have never asked for rent. She just has to take care of it (which she hasn't) but she has to pay for here own utilities. I would like to move to another state and sell the house. I have notified her 6 weeks ago that I have a buyer for the house and she needs to be out by 8/1/14. I have tried helping here find a place to go and even given her money for application fees. I have offered to help with deposit(s) ,rent, and moving. I am planning on serving here with a 20 day eviction notice. Is this the correct method/form to use? . Since I never asked for rent, I do not feel that I am a landlord, but the house is in my name and I have been paying the mortgate on it.

Asked on 6/28/14, 4:05 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathan Baner Baner & Baner

It is less relevant whether you "feel" you are a landlord and whether you have have a "rental agreement" under Washington State law. The applicable definition is "any and all agreements" for possession of real property. Taking care of the place would generally be thought to qualify.

Don't do this on your own. You will, almost certainly, do something wrong. The 20 day notice is right, but it must be in the right form and served in the correct manner (personal or nail/mail if personal not possible). Unlawful detainers (legal term for eviction -- in your case you might want to also proceed as if it is a forcible detainer just in case) are not intellectually difficult. They are very routine, but are also one of the few areas of law with a likelihood of a "technicality" causing a major annoyance.

Just find an attorney in your area that does these and have him or her do it from start to finish. You'll expect to spend $250-$700 on attorney fees and upwards of $500 on costs, but it will be done right and done quickly. You'll want to do this quite quick as it is probably unlikely you'll be able to meet the 8/1/2014 deadline. You might already be looking at 9/1/2014.

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Answered on 6/30/14, 10:40 am

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