STEP 4: COURT APPEARANCE

If the tenants failed to respond to the lawsuit, and an order of default was signed, then no hearing is necessary and this step can be skipped.  Otherwise, we must have a

Show Cause Hearing:  

At the hearing, we would go in front of the commissioner to seek an Eviction Order and Writ of Restitution.  The Tenants can raise any defenses they may have.  The Tenants would be able to meet with a free attorney at the courthouse, and the tenant’s attorney would try to negotiate on the Tenant's behalf.  If in the client's best interest, an agreement is entered right at the courthouse, prior to the hearing.

If the tenants fail to appear at the hearing, they are in default.  This means that we can motion the court for an Order of Default and Writ of Restitution to evict immediately and without a court hearing

$500.00 Attorney Fee + $25.00 Writ of Restitution = $525.00

 

Hearing to Stay Writ

Sometimes, even after the court signs an order to evict, the tenants will try to stay the enforcement of the writ, and demand a hearing.

$300.00 Attorney Fee = $300.00


Scheduling the Show Cause Hearing If the Tenant Answers.

A show cause hearing is a pretrial hearing to determine if the landlord should be restored to possession of the property immediately (I.e. have a writ issued to evict the tenant). To schedule a show cause hearing, The landlord asks the court commissioner to order the tenant to appear at a show cause hearing. The Order to show cause must specify a hearing date not less than seven nor more than thirty days from the date of service of the tenant. At the show cause hearing, the commissioner is required to examine the parties and witnesses and determine whether the landlord has the right to be restored to possession of the property. A a summary judgment standard is often used: the landlord must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the plaintiff is entitled to a writ as a matter of law.

The Unlawful Detainer May Be Dismissed or Set for Trial, Or a Writ of Restitution Issued.

In some cases, the court will dismiss the action and the tenant resumes his tenancy. OR: If the commissioner decides that there are genuine issues, he could set the case for trial within 30 days. Factual issues in unlawful detainer trial must be tried by a jury unless a jury is waived. OR: At some show cause hearings, the commissioner may decides that landlord had proper grounds to evict the tenant. Her will order a "writ of restitution." This order restores possession of the property to the landlord. It gives the sheriff's office authority to carry out a physical eviction at certain date. 59.18.380. 59.12.130

A Tenant Can "stay" the Writ of Restitution or "reinstate" the Lease in Some Case.

If a writ of restitution is issued at the show cause hearing, the tenant can "stay" execution of the writ by paying into the court registry the rent and courts costs determined to be owing plus the monthly rent as it becomes due, until the date of trial. 59.18.380 OR: A tenant can reinstate his lease in some case. A tenant who has been evicted for nonpayment of rent may be restored to possession after a judgment if her lease has not yet expired by paying the amount of the judgment plus costs into court within five days of the judgment’s entry. RCW 59.18.380. 410

Review of the Court Commissioner’s Decision May Be Requested by Either Party

Either party may request a revision of a commissioner ruling by filing a motion within TEN days. There has to be a valid legal argument for the court to review. RCW 2.24.050

A Note on Damages:

Damages that can be awarded to the landlord are restricted because of the limited nature of the unlawful detainer proceeding. Judgments are restricted to 1) Rent found to be owing and 2) Damages arising out of tenant’s unlawful detention of the premises. Typically this is the per diem rental for each day the tenant remains until evicted 59.18.410

Additional Resources

Residential Landlord Tenant Act 
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=59.18 

Forcible Entry and Forcible Unlawful Detainer 

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=59.12