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What to do When Evictions are Banned

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Protecting your Investment When Evictions Are Banned

In normal times, evicting bad tenants or tenants who don’t pay is challenging. When economic evictions are banned, the problems compound.

Remember, not ALL evictions are banned.

If a tenant is causing “imminent threat to the health and safety of the community,” you should proceed with eviction.

Economic Evictions

Just because you can’t evict a tenant for unlawful detainer today, does not mean you should just give up. Dealing with bad tenants is always challenging and will always test your patience. How you respond to the problem and remain within the law is important. Remember to do your best to keep your relationship with the tenant professional. The tenant is hoping to drag you into a fight, which is your greatest risk. Stay calm and follow these tips

Get it or put it in writing.

Every single interaction you have with your tenant, whether, in person, phone, email or text needs to be logged. It’s best to keep the discussion 100% in writing, but some conversations happen in person unexpectedly. It is illegal to record a conversation in Washington State without all parties’ informed consent, so when these surprises happen, take a moment during the conversation or immediately afterwards to write down what was said. There is great power to contemporaneous record-keeping.

These records will help you get your space back to a paying tenant and will help you to collect from the delinquent tenant.

Document everything, but be sure to capture the following:

· Complaints from other tenants or neighbors.

· All email correspondence

· Documentation about lack of response from tenant

· All notices sent and notes about how delivered

· Photographs and video logs of any damage.

· An accounting ledger to highlight history of non-payment

Keep the files by tenant. If a group of tenants caused damage, keep the log of that damage in each tenant’s file.

Keep Communication going, even if it is one-sided.

Even if the tenant is not responding, continue to provide notice. Tenants often deal with many personal issues and a note from the landlord will help remind them of their responsibilities. Many tenants who are misbehaving or not paying are dealing with personal issues that they don’t wish to share with you. Sometimes a few weeks of reminders will allow them to get back on track or approach you to request a payment plan. Be sure that your communication continues to allow for dialogue.

Check in With Your Tenant

If your communication seems provocative, slow down and find a less obtrusive way to communicate. Some tenants do not like signs taped to the door or slipped under the doorway as it communicates something about their problems to neighbors or others in the household. It is okay to ask your tenant in what way they prefer to receive communication from you.

Time to Evict

When the law allows it again, it will be time to evict. Remember you still have the ability to seek collections and obtain a judgement, even if the tenant no longer lives at your property. Use your gathered information that you have filed and begin the legal process. Be sure to consult with legal counsel or retain a professional property manager to handle the process for you. Call Elevation Investment Management at 206-201-1180 today!

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