Experienced Real Property Attorney
Attorney Travis Scott Eller focuses much of his practice on real property law. Travis Eller provides eviction service, handles landlord-tenant litigation, and helps landlords defend civil rights and fair housing complaints.
Travis Eller has decades of litigation experience, including quiet title actions, earnest money agreement disputes, disputes involving homeowners associations, and ejectment actions. In landlord-tenant matters Mr. Eller represents residential landlords, commercial landlords, and commercial tenants.
Mr. Eller handles eviction hearings, trials, and cases in the Court of Appeals. Clients include large multi-unit apartment complexes, property management firms, individual landlords renting a single-family home or condo unit, and small and medium size businesses.
The National Institute for Trial Advocacy awarded Travis Eller its “Advocate” designation.
Mr. Eller gives lectures at landlord-tenant seminars attended by rental property owners, property managers, and other attorneys.
Eviction moratoriums. Federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums were enacted in response to the pandemic. These laws frequently change and differ by location. Some eviction moratoriums have requirements that extend past their expiration. Consult with an attorney.
Commercial evictions. We regularly handle commercial landlord-tenant disputes. We represent both commercial tenants and landlords throughout the Puget Sound area.
Residential evictions. With recent changes in residential landlord-tenant law it is more important than ever to have an experienced landlord-tenant attorney in you corner. The residential eviction process has been impacted by recent changes in landlord-tenant law on both the state and local level. Familiarity with local law is a must. We have represented residential landlords in eviction cases for many years.
Some localities, such as Seattle, Tacoma, and Federal Way, have additional legal requirements for residential tenancies. Be sure to use eviction notice forms appropriate for your rental property location.
Post-foreclosure evictions. The successful bidder at a foreclosure auction is entitled to possession against former owners and non-tenant occupants twenty days after the sale. If the foreclosed former owner refuses to vacate, the buyer must evict the occupants (even if there are no tenants in the property). If the foreclosed property is occupied by tenants of the former owner, there are additional requirements.
Washington State-wide Eviction Moratorium
Governor Inslee has extended the eviction moratorium through October 15. He also stated there would be modifications to the moratorium terms to be announced soon.
Landlords may not serve initial notices, such as a notice to pay rent or vacate or a notice to terminate the tenancy.
Owners may serve a 60-day notice if the owner intends to personally occupy the rental as a primary residence or to sell the rental. The date of termination should be the last day of a rental period (typically calendar month). Owners also must comply with local laws, some of which require longer notice periods.
There are also narrow exceptions where a tenant poses an immediate risk to health, safety, or property. A resident’s exposure or contracting COVID-19 cannot be the basis for eviction.
Rent increases are prohibited for residential tenancies. Commercial tenants are shielded from rent increases if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by COVID-19.
Federal Eviction Moratorium
A federal eviction moratorium applies to properties with a Federally backed mortgage loan, Federally backed multifamily mortgage loan, Section 8 tenants, and covered housing programs of the Violence Against Women Act. The federal moratorium prohibits evictions for non-payment of rent or other charges. The moratorium runs through July 25, after which landlords are required to serve a 30-day notice.
HUD has separately imposed an eviction moratorium on single-family properties with FHA mortgages. This moratorium is set to expire on August 31.
Seattle Eviction Moratorium
The Seattle eviction moratoriums on both residential and commercial properties has been extended through August 1.
Note that although the state-wide eviction moratorium allows the landlord to give 60 days' notice for an intent to sell or move into the rental property, the Seattle just cause eviction ordinance requires 90 days notice for an intent to sell or move into the rental property. In Seattle, the landlord must give 90 days' notice, even though only 60 days is required under Governor Inslee's moratorium.
Many are confused by reports that Seattle extended the residential moratorium another six months. That is not accurate. The moratorium ends August 1, but there are new residential tenant defenses that extend another six months.
King County Eviction Moratorium
King County Superior Court emergency orders require a declaration from the landlord when asking for a show cause hearing demonstrating the landlord’s eligibility for an exception to the eviction moratoriums. The Court is also requiring the parties to mediate in good faith.
Am I allowed to serve a notice to terminate tenancy if it does not expire until after the moratorium?
No. The Governor’s moratorium does not allow service of any type of notice that requires a tenant or occupant to vacate.
This is intentionally stated in rather broad terms, and the language of the moratorium goes on to specifically prohibit service of notices to terminate tenancy.
The only basis for serving notice under the eviction moratorium is if the owner intends to move in or sell the property, or the tenant poses an immediate threat to safety, health, or property.
Intent to move in or sell requires 60 days’ notice. Local law may require longer periods. For example, Seattle requires 90 days and Federal Way requires 120 days. The termination date must be the last day of a rental period (typically a calendar month), and is not calculated as a number of days from the current date.
Before there was an eviction moratorium in some locations local law already required notice if the owner wants to sell or move into the rental property. For example, Seattle and Burien require 90 days. Federal Way requires 120 days.
In Seattle and Burien, the landlord therefore must give 90 days notice(not 60 days’ notice).
In Federal Way, the landlord must give 120 days’ notice(not 60 days’ notice).
Also, the termination date must be the last day of a rental period (usually calendar months), not 90 or 120 days from the current date.
No. The state-wide eviction moratorium does not prevent commercial evictions. Its does prohibit rent increases if the business is impacted by COVID-19.
There are local eviction moratoriums that apply to commercial properties. Check with an attorney if unsure.
Under the governor’s moratorium, landlords may not treat unpaid rent or other charges as amounts owing if the nonpayment was a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and occurred on or after February 29, 2020. This rule prohibits, among other things, invoicing or withholding amounts from the security deposit.
This rule does not apply if the landlord offers and the resident refused or failed to comply with a payment plan that was reasonable based on the resident’s financial, health, and other circumstances.
My tenant has money but refuses to pay rent. Since the failure to pay is not COVID related, can I evict?
Tenants owe rent, but you cannot evict them during the moratorium even of they simply refuse to pay.
No. During the eviction moratorium you cannot serve a 14-day or other formal notice on your tenant.
No. You cannot evict a tenant during the eviction moratorium, even if the non-payment or other grounds for eviction occurred before the eviction moratorium.