New Seattle Just Cause Eviction Provisions


A Seattle residential landlord may evict a tenant only for just cause. Just cause is defined by Seattle ordinance.

Landlord intends to occupy the rental unit. If the landlord or member of the landlord’s immediate family wishes to occupy the rental property as a primary residence, this is just cause to evict. The just cause eviction ordinance was recently modified so that this now requires 90 days notice. The last day of the 90-day period must be the last day of the lease or the last day of a rental period.

Landlord intends to occupy a single-family dwelling unit. If the landlord intends to sell a “single-family dwelling unit” the landlord may give notice. If the tenant does not vacate, this is just cause to evict.  The last day of the 90-day period must be the last day of the lease or the last day of a rental period.  Note that a Seattle ordinance defines “single-family dwelling unit” as “a detached structure containing one (1) dwelling unit.”

Tenancy must be month-to-month.  These two just cause grounds only apply if the tenancy is month-to-month. These just cause eviction rules do not give the landlord a right to break a lease. A tenant has a contractual right to remain in the property through the end of the lease term, so long as the tenant is paying rent and otherwise complying with the material lease agreement terms.

Non-payment or rent and other breaches. A tenant may always be evicted for failing to pay rent or other material breaches of the lease or rental agreement. Proper notice must be given, then court action for eviction if necessary.