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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10237
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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I have a tenant who signed a 1-year lease on march 4 of this

Customer Question

i have a tenant who signed a 1-year lease on march 4 of this year. I had a property manager handle the lease and they agreed on rent being due on the 10th of the month. they paid first, last and a security deposit. april they paid and were very happy. may I had to email several times before getting rent paid in full on may 15. now, in june, no rent was paid by the 11th, so I emailed and mentioned that this is the second time in three months tenancy that rent has been late and to please pay per the lease agreement. tenant responded in a very hostile manner, refused to pay rent, cited problems with the property that are not accurate, and then wrote "Do you want to offer a cash settlement or offer partial refund of monies in an effort to resolve this without a long drawn out legal matter? If so I can arrange a relatively speedy move out leaving the property in the condition I found it." I might add that he emailed me in may stating that his marriage failed and the wife moved and he'd keep me posted on what is going on. I emailed in early june to say that gardeners would be coming and, btw, how are things? he answered that they were fully reconciled and would be staying for a long time. he claims that the bathrooms have no ventilation, but they is only because the property manager I fired told them to tell me to put in new vents. there is nothing wrong with the ventilation and there are windows in each bathroom -it's a nice place. in any case, i said that I would inspect them on sunday and he refused, and said that I cannot come in if he is not home, but Monday may work. i responded by saying that i would come on monday at 4pm and would confirm on Saturday. he has not responded tothis, but i'll follow up today to confirm. he also cited a "severe woodpecker problem" and "overgrown vegetation impeding the walkway and entry to garage." there are two woodpeckers with active nests. I consulted with wildlife experts who told me that it is unlawful to disturb active nests. this tenant did not even mention the woodpeckers until I brought up that I was monitoring the nests and would stay on top of it and asked if he would let me know if he saw or heard them. he said that he hadn't heard them for a couple of weeks. about the "vegetation," I had already informed him before he ever mentioned the yard that I was scheduling gardeners. they came and did a beautiful job yesterday and the property is immaculate.
he says that he knows his rights and will exercise them to the fullest extent. what can I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Post a "notice to pay or quit" and follow through. If your tenant does not pay within the notice period, file an unlawful detainer. "Inadequate ventilation" in the bathrooms is not a 'habitability' issue and they cannot withhold rent for this (even in states that do permit rent withholding), neither is overgrown vegitation.If you provide me with the state in which the residence is located I can get you some more specific information on the eviction process for non-payment of rent.If you still have a property management company working for you, they should be handling this for you. If not, I do recommend hiring a process server to post your notices and serve your summons and complaint in the unlawful detainer process - it isn't required, but it is a very good investment (and very small fee), your process server will already know the rules for service ("nail and mail") and will provide you with a proper proof of service that is not going to be subject to attack in a later unlawful detainer/forcible entry and detainer proceeding.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** am in Seattle, Washington. I found a Notice to Pay or Quit form online and have it ready to go. I was concerned because they paid 1st and last month's rent, so technically, couldn't they say that they paid this month? They did not give me notice to leave, just a very sudden flip from happy to extremely contentious. He is trying to extort cash from me and posed a veiled threat that suggested he may trash the place if I don't comply with his demands. I have all these communications on email and hard copy. He is unstable. I fired the property manager at the end of March. He was a problem, too. :- (
So, can I serve the Pay or Quit Notice even though he could say that he paid last month's rent and so he's technically not late?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Paying their "first and last" does not entitle them to miss their monthly payment obligation. Your tenant is still in violation of the lease (failed to pay as agreed).You can issue the notice to pay or quit.I do recommend using the process server to post your notice (but you of course can do it yourself). This site is a "pay for use" site that gives some additional information and forms for landlords if you choose to do this yourself without an attorney: http://www.landlordguidance.com/eviction-notice-forms/washington-eviction/The King County Law Library also has an eviction packet: http://www.kcll.org/guides/eviction-process-guide
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** so once I issue the Pay or Quit notice, which gives him 5 days in Washington, and he does not pay, I can start eviction proceedings? How long will it take to get him out? One other concern I have is that he will destroy the place. If he damages my property, what does one do to get remedy?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Am I allowed to go to his place of work to serve the notice?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
An eviction generally takes 4-8 weeks depending on whether or not the tenant appears to defend the action (most tenants vacate voluntarily at some point during this process as it is in their best interest to do so).(Be aware, "self help" measures are not permitted - so you cannot change locks, cut off utilities, etc. if you have evidence that they are damaging the property intentionally, you can ask the court for an injunction, but in most cases, landlords are forced to take remedies against the security deposit or file a subsequent small claims action for damages against the tenant).You must serve the notice on the property - again a process server is best, ***** ***** serve it properly.

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