Court of Appeals Upholds Eviction of Residential Tenant


After several unsuccessful attempts to personally serve a tenant with a summons and complaint, the landlord got a court order allowing service. The landlord then had a process server post and mail the summons and complaint along with a notice requiring the tenant to either pay rent into the court registry or serve a sworn statement that no rent is owing.

The tenant served the landlord attorney’s office with a response to the eviction complaint, but did not deny rent was owed and did not pay rent into the court registry.

The landlord moved for a writ of restitution. The court ruled in favor of the landlord. The tenant appealed.

The tenant argued on appeal that the statute authorizing service by posting and mailing only authorizes service of a summons and complaint, and not other notices.[1]  A landlord’s remedy when serving the summons and complaint by posting and mailing is generally limited to possession, and no money judgment is authorized until jurisdiction is obtained over the tenant.[2]

The tenant argued that because of this rule, the landlord could not serve by posting and mailing a notice requiring the tenant to pay rent into the court registry, and that such notices have to be served personally.

However, the statute that authorizes notices requiring either payment of rent into the court registry or a sworn tenant statement that no rent is owed specifically allows service of such notice along with the summons and complaint.  The Court of Appeals reasoned therefore that the once the landlord has a court order authorizing service of the eviction summons and complaint by posting and mailing, the landlord may also serve along with the summons and complaint the notice requiring either payment of rent into the court registry or a sworn tenant statement that no rent is owing.

The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the landlord, and upheld the trial court in issuing the writ of restitution.

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By landlord tenant attorney Travis Scott Eller

[1] Snowdon Associates LLC v. Druxman, unpublished (No. 71338-8-I  January 20, 2015).

[2] RCW 59.18.055(1 )(b); Nagesh v. Sawyer, 131 Wn. App. 822, 826, 129 P.3d 824 (2006).