Landlord Attorney Travis Scott Eller

Residential tenants can get a free attorney in many Washington counties. Commercial tenants usually hire a private landlord-tenant attorney. Often when an eviction goes wrong for the landlord it is a procedural misstep that an experienced landlord-tenant attorney might have helped the landlord avoid.

Travis Scott Eller is an experienced real property and landlord attorney serving Seattle/King County, Tacoma/Pierce County, Everett/Snohomish County, and Olympia/Thurston County.[1]  He focuses much of  his practice on real property and landlord-tenant law. Mr. Eller handles residential evictions and commercial evictions, post-foreclosure evictions, as well as real property disputes and litigation. Travis Eller regularly handles a volume of landlord-tenant cases. Mr. Eller gives lectures at landlord-tenant seminars attended by rental property owners, property managers, and other attorneys. Mr. Eller is knowledgeable, experienced, well known by the courts and the sheriff’s civil units.

Mr. Eller is active in the public speaking educational organization Toastmasters, is a member of the high IQ society MENSA, and has achieved the “Advocate” designation with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

Download our Eviction Request form or contact us for more information.

The eviction process

Both residential evictions and commercial evictions usually involve an initial eviction notice–such as a notice to pay rent or vacate, notice to comply or vacate, or notice to terminate the tenancy.  You can download our free eviction notice forms. The eviction notice forms come with instructions.

If the tenant does not comply with the initial eviction notice the landlord must go through the eviction process in court. This is always true, even if the landlord does not care about collecting money owed and just wants the tenant out.

Procedural missteps can cause delay in the eviction process, or even cause the landlord to have to start the eviction over. Residential tenants in many Washington counties have a free attorney who will review the case for procedural errors and substantive tenant defenses. Commercial tenants often retain private counsel. Hiring an eviction attorney with the knowledge and experience to guide your case through the eviction process can save time and money.

Self-help eviction is illegal in Washington. A landlord may not force a tenant out by changing locks, turning off utilities, or other strong-arm measures. This is true whether or not there was a written lease or rental agreement, or whether the landlord is interested in trying to collect rent or other money owed by the tenant. The landlord is legally required to  go through the eviction court process, even if the landlord just wants the property back and does not care about money owed.

For more details see our pages on the Residential Eviction Process or Commercial Eviction Process.

 

Recent Changes in Landlord-Tenant Law 

There have been many important changes in landlord-tenant law at the federal, Washington state, and local levels in the past few years.  If you are facing a landlord-tenant dispute you should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney familiar with current landlord-tenant law.

Seattle Fair Housing Ordinance.

Under the new City of Seattle Fair Housing ordinance landlords may not use criminal background checks when screening potential tenants, with only narrow exceptions. Read more.

Seattle Source of Income rule.

Seattle  residential landlords must accept all sources of income when screening tenant applicants. Seattle landlord must also allow tenants delinquent in rent to pay late under certain conditions.

Seattle first-in-time rule.

Seattle enacted an ordinance in 2016 that requires landlords of residential properties to accept the first qualified applicant. Landlords are required to track when potential tenant inquires are received. The new law leaves no discretion to the landlord. The ordinance is being challenged in a lawsuit.

Seattle security deposit and move-in fees limitations.

Seattle local law limits security deposits to the first full month’s rent.  Pet deposits are limited to 25% of the fist full month’s rent. Non-refundable fees are limited to a few specified items, and cannot exceed 10% of the first full month’s rent. Seattle residential landlords are required to accept a payment plan for all move-in costs.

Criminal background check rules.

Under federal HUD guidelines issued in 2016, landlords may face fair-housing liability if the landlord imposes a blanket rule regarding screening potential tenants for criminal history. Landlords must now take into account the severity of the criminal activity, how recent the activity was, and the applicants conduct since. In Seattle, landlord cannot use criminal backgrounds checks at all.

Seattle voter registration information requirement. 

Seattle landlords are now required to give voter registration information to tenants and prospective tenants. Failure to do so allows the tenant to break a lease and/or sue the landlord.

 

 


[1] Our rates are the same for all three counties. The sheriff fees varies from county to county.