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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118689
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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This is in State, San County. The property is on a small

Customer Question

This is in Washington State, San Juan County. The property is on a small island, off the grid.I want to evict someone to whom I granted a home-made $1 per year ground lease. My main question is: Do I have the right to evict him? My secondary question is: What is the most secure, water-tight method of evicting him?Circumstances:I am divorced. I am the trustee for an irrevocable living trust. The trust owns 20 acres, on which I am living. The beneficiaries are my adult daughters.As trustee, I composed and typed up a lifetime lease on a specified 5 acre parcel of the property. I gave this lease in 2012 to my then-husband Bob. He had left me in 2011, but we were on good terms and I wanted him to not be homeless. My daughters at that time were favorable toward the idea of giving him the lease, even though encumbering part of was not in their best interest as beneficiaries.Bob and I were divorced in 2016. The divorce was simple and just used the boilerplate form that said each person gets the possessions they have. No real estate was mentioned in the divorce, because the property we lived on belonged to my family trust and was never community property. No lawyers were involved in our divorce.In 2012, Bob bought a yurt and put it up on his 5-acre leased parcel.The lease I wrote (between the trust and Bob) says that he gets to have water from my well, and that he is allowed to come into my home to pump water when I'm away. (That's where the pump switch is located.) There is no charge for the water, but the lease says he has to use it in normal residential and garden quantities.Bob has to pay the trust $1 per year for the lease, which he has done. I pay all property taxes on the whole 20 acres, on behalf of the trust.The lease says that any structure or improvements that Bob puts on his leased parcel are his personal property, and under no circumstances shall any outcome of the lease be that the trust will ever owe Bob or his heirs any money.It also says that he can't dig a trash pit. WA state law has rules about tenants leaving waste on a property.It says he can have the lease until his death.Since giving Bob this lease, which was notarized, our friendly relations have totally deteriorated. He has attempted to extort money from me, harassed me about the water quality of the well, come into my yard and taken things, and been generally awful.Bob has been living in Maine about 10 months a year with his new partner. When they are back here on the island during summertimes, they live in her comfortable house. Bob recently sold his yurt to a neighbor, who plans to haul it away in the next few months. Bob has no personal possessions left on the property.Bob has left the leased property trashed. There are buckets of old paint and unknown liquids, there are dead trucks, old tires, general trash, all being covered up with brambles. It's not exactly a trash pit, but the items are being lost in the woods.He also drained my water tank overnight on Aug 29, leaving me without any water for a day until I could fill the tank. That exceeds the "normal residential use" that his lease entitled him to. He was not in residence there at the time, but his partner's house has no water during August - so I'm sure they were coming down to get water from Bob's parcel. I previously warned him that if he was supplying water to a different property, I would evict him.Before Bob left for Maine last week, he sent me a letter saying that even though he has sold his yurt, he wants to keep his lease for the next ten years. He enclosed a $10 postal money order with his letter, which I have not cashed. His letter claims that he wants to build a cabin to use in future summers, but this is absurd. He is 73 years old and is not about to start from scratch at some future date to build some rustic building, after dismantling and selling a large, luxurious yurt that had all the conveniences.His real reason to keep his lease is apparently to use the property as a garbage dump and water source for any future visits back here.The lease says that if Bob and I have any disagreement, we agree to talk to a mutually agreeable mediator. I want to evict him. Can I?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

If he is damaging the property and in violation of the lease, as you describe above, then that is a breach of the lease and grounds to file for eviction in court. You need to do so by giving him a 30 day notice to get the property cleared or you will file to evict him for breach, since he is causing damage to the property by disposing of garbage on the property. If he refuses to clear the breach or vacate the property then you have grounds to file for mediator to assist in settling the dispute within that 30 day notice period and then if he refuses suing him in court for eviction. So you could evict him based on his breach if mediation does not settle the issues.

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