Skip links

Legal Timeline for Eviction: What Tenants Should Know

Here are some tips for tenants on the legal timeline for eviction in Washington state.

Eviction Timeline: 

Day 1:  Rent is due (past due or new), tenant will be offered a proposed repayment plan by landlord. 

Day 2: Rent is still unpaid and no agreement has been reached regarding a repayment plan; landlord serves “Pay or Vacate” and Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) notices by: 

  • Handing the notice to the tenant or another adult who lives with the tenant, taping the notice to the door or mailing the tenant the notice. 
  • A verbal termination in person, by phone, or by voicemail or a written notice by text or email is not proper notification. 

Days 3-15:  The tenant has 14 days to… 

  • Come up with entire amount due on the 14-day notice. 
  • Register for an Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (mediation).  
  • During mediation: 
    • If the tenant agrees to negotiate and registers for ERPP, they will be contacted by a case manager with a Dispute Resolution Center (DRC). The case manager will advise the tenant and help create a counteroffer. 
    • Counteroffers can go back and forth until there is an agreement reached or the landlord and tenant ask for a mediator. 
    • Through telephone shuttles or live negotiations with the mediator, the tenant and landlord negotiate; the mediator documents the outcome of negotiations.  
    • At conclusion, the Dispute Resolution Center will issue a certificate to the tenant/landlord (either that they came to an agreement or there were attempts). 

Day 16: Rent is still unpaid; landlord serves a lawsuit for unlawful detainer (eviction summons and complaint). 

  • Landlord must have a certificate saying that they attempted mediation, but it was unsuccessful. 
  • Tenant has 7days to answer the summons and complaint or they lose the lawsuit by default. 

Day 23:  The tenant’s answer is due and they may opt to file a notice of appearance. 

  • A notice of appearance contains defenses against the evictions plus all money of the tenant’s that the landlord is holding. 

Day “24” or the day that the hearing is scheduled: A show cause hearing occurs, judgment is issued (default if no answer has been filed). 

  • If the tenant responded, both parties go to court. Judge hears both sides and makes a ruling. 
    • If the landlord wins, the court will issue a writ of restitution and a judgment in the amount of rent money and late fees the tenant owes (up to $75) plus court/attorney fees. 
    • If the tenant wins, the case is dismissed. Filing appears on tenant’s record, unless they get an Order of Limited Dissemination. 
    • If there is an issue of fact, Judge may send the case to trial. 

Days 25 to 29: Within 5 days of the entry of judgment, the tenant can be reinstated if they pay the full rent due, plus late fees, court costs, and any attorney’s fees. 

Day 30: Sheriff serves the tenant the writ of restitution. 

Day 33: Sheriff can enforce the writ (72 hours after being served). 

Day 34: When the writ is enforced, sheriff usually comes to the property and oversees the landlord removing the tenant and their belongings. 

Exact days may vary from case to case. 

Eviction Resources: 

Get Legal Help:  

  • For legal help with housing and eviction issues through ELAP, fill out this online form.   
  • Or call ELAP’s Help Line Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 425-747-7274 (English) or 425-620-2778 (Español).  
Need legal help?
This is default text for notification bar