Several parties entered what the Court of Appeals described as a “convoluted series of real estate transactions.” Essentially, the Bohms lived in a property owned by Roesch, and real estate developer Fred was to make the mortgage payments and eventually acquire the Roesch property along with other contiguous properties.
Fred failed to make the payments. The Roeschs sought to evict the Bohms in an unlawful detainer action. The matter was set for trial.
The Bohms counterclaimed, seeking to quiet title. These counterclaims were not allowed because title to land cannot be litigated in an unlawful detainer action. Nevertheless, some of the same evidence related to both title and the Bohms’ argument that under the terms of the convoluted real estate transactions the Bohms were excused from paying rent due to non-performance of other parties.
The Roeschs appealed, arguing that the trial court exceeded the limited jurisdiction of an unlawful detainer action by admitting evidence related to title. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the evidence was properly admitted in support of the Bohms’ argument that they were excused from paying rent; that the jury was correctly instructed to consider the evidence for deciding the issue of excuse for non-payment; and, therefore the verdict that the Bohms were excused for not paying rent was proper.
Convoluted transactions sometimes invite disputes, and sometimes disputes end up in court because the parties just cannot agree. Whether you are a party to a convoluted transaction or a simple one, it is best to consult with an attorney before seeking to evict someone.
 Roesch v. Bohm, unpublished opinion (No. 48083-2-II 01/24/2017).