Archive for February, 2014

Prohibited Communications From Debt Collectors

Posted on: February 16th, 2014 by evil0511

Prohibited Communications From Debt Collectors


Debt collectors like to harass you.  They reach out to your friends, family, and do whatever they can to embarass you into paying regardless of whether the debt is valid or not.  However, there are limitations.  One limitation is that they cannot send written communications to you that have any words or symbols that indicate that they are debt collectors pursuant to 15 USC 1692(b)(5) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

A debt collector may not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt

If a debt collector violates this, they may be liable for statutory damages to you and also be required to pay for your attorney fees.

Seattle Municipal Code 22.206.160- Extra Rights for Seattle Tenants

Posted on: February 9th, 2014 by evil0511

Seattle Municipal Code 22.206.160

Extra Rights for Seattle Tenants & Pitfalls for Landlords


Residential tenancies are governed by RCW 59.18 in the state of Washington.  However, these rules are modified in the city of Seattle by Seattle Municipal Code 22.206.160.

For tenants, this is a bonus as it puts a just cause eviction requirement and places additional duties and limitations on landlords.  For landlords, it usually represents additional work and pitfalls to work around.

The just cause ordinance is the most potent aspect of SMC 22.206.160.  On overview of the statute can be found here.  Some of the most common just cause conditions include:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Habitual failure to pay rent (4 or more pay or vacate notices within a one year period)
  • Habitual failure to follow the terms of the rental agreement (3 or more notices for substantial failure to comply or vacate within a one year month period)
  • Landlord wishes to sell the property (requires 90 days advance written notice prior to the sale)
  • Landlord wishes to move into the property or have an immediate family member move into the property as a primary residence (requires 90 days advance written notice)
  • Landlord seeks to substantially rehabilitate, demolish, remove use restrictions, or change the use of the property

A tip guide for landlords created by the City of Seattle is also a helpful resource and can be found here.

A tip guide for tenants can be found here.

If you live or rent in the city of Seattle, be sure to know your rights under this municipal code!


Landlord Tenant Law Series: Ejection, Tenancy at Will, and Getting Rid of Tenants with No Lease

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 by evil0511

Landlord Tenant Law Series: Ejection, Tenancy at Will, and Getting Rid of Tenants with No Lease

No good deed goes unpunished.  You had some extra space or even a second home and out of the goodness of your heart you let some friends move in as they had no where else to go.  Now they won’t leave.

Under Washington Law, this type of situation is called a “tenancy at will” and it is not easy to resolve.

Unlike a landlord in a traditional lease situation under the landlord tenant act (RCW 59.18 et. seq.), you do not have the ability to just issue a three day pay or quit notice and swiftly evict the tenant.  Instead, you have to use the very slow and costly procedures available under RCW 7.28 for ejection- which in essence is a trial on an unexpedited basis.

There is a temptation to resort to self help such as simply locking the “tenants” out, shutting off utilities, etc.  However, self help by landlords is not allowed and can result in significant damages to include damages and attorney fees.

Generally, the best way to deal with a tenant at will is to offer money to move out (cash for keys) with the threat to file a suit if they do not move.  It is important to note that any suit for eviction, or ejection in this case, will be part of the permanent court record and will be seen on any background or rental check.  With that in their background, it will be very difficult to rent again and if they do they often will have to pay a premium to do so.

A combination of carrot and stick is often the most effective method in a tenancy at will situation.