Unlawful Detainer Eviction

The only way you can evict a tenant is with a court order, after filing an 'unlawful detainer' (eviction lawsuit) in superior court. The landlord petitions the court with a 'summons and complaint' document requesting a 'writ of restitution' (court order) to restore their possessory right to the rental unit. You cannot legally evict a tenant without a writ. 

It is ill-advised to proceed without legal counsel as there are complex, technical, and procedural details involved throughout the eviction process.  If you make even a small error, it can affect the outcome or delay the process. You should retain an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law in Seattle. King County Bar Association provides referrals.

The process begins when you serve a notice pursuant to the just cause eviction ordinance to your tenant and they fail to comply. An attorney will help you prepare your summons and complaint which must be served to the tenant and then filed in court. Ultimately, a judge decides at a show cause hearing whether you will be restored possession of the rental property and whether the tenant will be evicted.

If a writ of restitution is granted; and the tenant does not vacate voluntarily by the court issued date, a sheriff will remove the tenant from the property. See the state law.

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The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) includes permitting, construction inspections, code compliance and tenant protections, and rental housing registration and inspections.