How to Deliver An Eviction Notice Letter: Whidbey Island Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

The Joseph Group Sep 2021

Ian Joseph

“Clients first!” – is a huge part of the DNA that Ian Joseph and his Team have established at The Joseph Group. This motto helps them focus on striving for the highest level of customer experience, for their clients (landlords) and customers (tenants). In fact, Ian strongly believes that in life, family and business, you must strive to give more than you receive. “You can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

Updated January 20, 2022

It's time to evict your tenant, but you're not quite sure how. If it's been a while since you've had to remove a renter (or you've never dealt with a difficult tenant before), our Whidbey Island property management experts are here to help! 

This blog post will cover the essentials of the eviction process and guide you on how to deliver an eviction notice letter. You'll also learn what successful landlords are required to do before they can legally terminate their lease agreement with a tenant. While we hope you never have to deal with eviction, if it's time to work through this complicated process, then read on!

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What Is An Eviction Notice?

An eviction notice letter is one of the first steps a landlord takes to evict a bad or professional tenant. Not all states require landlords to give tenants written notices before they can terminate (end) their tenancy, but Washington does. This means that even if you own property in Whidbey Island and your renter isn't paying rent or otherwise violating their rental agreement, you need to inform them of this breach with an eviction notice letter.

In Washington state, the most common reason landlords remove a tenant is the nonpayment of rent. In these instances, the eviction notice letter is a 30-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate. This allows your resident to pay their outstanding balance within three days or face eviction proceedings. Following the process of delivering the written notice alerts renters that they've almost run out of time on the grace period for rent nonpayment, and they need to make it right before they are removed from the residential property. 

The 30-Day Notice is also required for other lease violations that lead to an eviction situation. If you're not sure about the proper timing of these notices or if your renter's behavior or rent payment delays qualify for the 3-Day Notice or an eviction, consult a property management company and your lawyer for guidance. It's better to check with your legal resources before risking an improper action that could lead to a lawsuit from the tenant and their continued residence in your property.

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Follow the Right Process and Rental Agreement

Before delivering a written notice to your resident, make sure you understand the correct process for eviction. Even though a bad situation with a tenant is frustrating (and expensive), landlords must follow the law every step of the way. 

Start by consulting the lease agreement. It should outline the rules for living in your rental unit and the penalties for violating those rules. Tenants must abide by the lease throughout their lease term, including paying the rent time. With a solid rental agreement, property owners have the documentation and support they need to enforce penalties and begin the eviction process when it's clear that a resident isn't paying the rent. 

If the lease doesn't clearly document house rules or rental payment details, work with a Whidbey Island property management company to make critical updates to the lease before signing with new tenants. A property manager can also provide you with a sample residential lease agreement to help you get started drafting your own.

Stay Calm When Tenants Don't Pay Rent

Eviction is an unpleasant experience for both the tenant and the property owner. When renters receive the 30-Day Notice, they can become upset in some cases. The situation can get worse before it gets better. Consulting a property manager and your lawyer is the best way to stay calm, avoid confrontation, and remain professional until the tenant leaves the rental property. 

Don't Self-Evict

You might be ready to end a bad renter situation as soon as possible, but taking matters into your own hands can lead to a more significant problem—and more legal expenses. When it's clear that eviction is the only way to resolve a situation, avoid changing the locks, removing your renter's belongings, or making demands that don't comply with the law or the rental agreement. 

As frustrating as it can be, tenants have rights. This includes the right to a legal eviction process—even if it means they get to stay in your rental property for a few more weeks before they must vacate. 

Partner With a Property Management Company to Deliver Eviction Notices

While we don't intend this content as a substitution for legal advice, we hope this information is helpful. An eviction lawyer is your best resource for guidance during an eviction. We hope you never have to go through the process, but if the time comes that you are forced to evict a tenant from your property, make sure it's done legally. Landlord-tenant law requires property owners to deliver a proper eviction notice letter and work with the courts to remove a resident for violating the lease or not paying their rent. 

Whidbey Island property management company can help you navigate this process, so you don't have to! The Joseph Group helps landlords manage renters, including delivering eviction notices and being by your side throughout the eviction process. If you're interested in learning more about how we can handle any landlord's needs through our expert property management services, please reach out!

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