This is the first post in a series which will discuss the process of assisting Olympia area residents who are involved in a landlord-tenant dispute. Many residents are unsure as to their rights or how they should proceed when their landlord is breaching an agreement and/or threatening eviction. Failing to take immediate action can have dire consequences. Self-help remedies, such as withholding rent or doing unauthorized repairs, can also have dire consequences. The goal of my coming articles is to provide information which will help people to better understand their options. It is also my goal to provide information which will assist with the selection of an attorney. If you or a loved one need help, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
I will be addressing a number of topics over my coming articles. Issues which I will analyze include:
- A tenant’s rights during the eviction process
- A tenant’s right to withhold rent and the strict limits on that right
- A tenant’s right to take action against a non-performing landlord
These are important topics to address. First, many make the mistake of believing that they do not have any recourse after they are served with an eviction or other notice or when there are defects in the building or needed repairs. If the landlord failed to follow the correct procedures for eviction or correction notice, it may be possible to fight the eviction process. If the landlord failed to maintain or repair the property, it may be possible to force them to do so. While many rights depend on the terms of your lease agreement, other rights arise from the law, most importantly the Residential Landord-Tenant Act (RCW 59.18).
One point I cannot stress enough is that you should retain a landlord-tenant attorney who is experienced in handling such matters and do so before you engage in any self-help such as withholding rent or conducting unauthorized repairs. Such cases can involve complicated issues of fact and of contract law. By retaining counsel who is familiar with these types of cases, you help to ensure that your rights remain protected. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with an Olympia lawyer. Our firm also serves the Thurston County cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm, the Pierce County cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood, the Lewis County cities of Centralia, Chehalis, the King County cities of Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, and Federal Way, as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.