Commercial Eviction Upheld on Appeal

A landlord leased commercial space to a tenant to operate a nightclub. The commercial tenant fell behind in rent. The landlord served a notice to pay rent or vacate, giving the statutory three-day period. The lease provided for twenty days to cure non-payment of rent.

The tenant argued on appeal that the notice was defective. Although the notice only gave three days to cure non-payment of rent, the landlord waited more than twenty days before filing the summons and complaint. The Court of Appeals ruled that waiting the additional period before taking further action was sufficient, even though the notice by its terms only granted three days.

The tenant also argued that the because the summons and complaint were served by posting and mailing pursuant to court order, the landlord was obligated to give 90 days as the deadline to answer the complaint. The tenant cited a court rule for this argument. The Court of Appeals ruled that the shorted period in the unlawful detainer statute applied, and the longer 90-day period requirement does not apply in eviction cases.

The landlord was awarded attorney fees in both trial level case and on appeal.[1]

Our firm was not involved in the eviction litigation discussed in this article.

By Landlord-tenant attorney Travis Eller


[1] Hall v. Feigenbaum, ____ Wn.App. ____ (No. 68927-4-I  January 13, 2014).