Serving Eviction Notices in Washington


The information on the page is based on the laws of the state of Washington. Landlord-tenant law is very different in different jurisdictions. Even in Washington the information on this website is not a substitute for advice about your circumstances.

How to Serve an Eviction Notice in Washington

Notice requirements are strictly construed against the landlord. Even if you can prove the tenant actually received the notice, failure to strictly adhere to the service methods may result in dismissal of the eviction action.

There are three acceptable means to serve an eviction notice on a tenant.

1. Delivering a copy personally to the tenant, OR
2. Substitute service on a some person of suitable age and discretion AND mailing a copy to the tenant, OR
3. If neither the tenant nor a person of suitable age and discretion is present then affixing a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place on the premises AND mailing a copy.

Mailing. Mailing alone is never sufficient legal service of an eviction notice. The landlord cannot just mail, courier, fax, text, or email eviction notices. Service of eviction notices requires the landlord (or other person serving the eviction notice) to go the property. Mailing is sometimes required in addition to other steps. See above. 

When mailing is required (see above) regular first class is fine unless a lease or rental agreement requires more.  One day is added by rule before the landlord can take additional actions. In effect, a three-day notice becomes a four-day notice and a ten-day notice an eleven-day notice. Mail the eviction notice from the same county.

Mailing means using the US Postal Service. The statute requires “sending a copy through the mail.” The landlord placing a copy of the eviction notice in the tenant’s mailbox is not “sending a copy through the mail.” 

More than one tenant. If there is more than one person living in the property it is important to serve enough copies of the eviction notice for each person. If someone answers the door, hand that person enough copies of the notice for everyone and mail copies separately to each of the other tenants. Likewise if posting a copy, also mail one separately to each tenant.

This does not mean multiple notices, one for each tenant.  It means multiple copies of one notice.

Posting. Notices must be posted in a conspicuous manner. Anyone should be able to walk up and read it. It is best not to fold it, leave it in an envelope, slide it under the door or through the mail slot, etc.

Failure to comply.  After an eviction notice is property served and the tenant fails to comply, the landlord must initiate the legal eviction process. This is true even if the landlord does not care about collecting money, there was never a written agreement, or the lease has expired. All landlords must go through the eviction process if a tenant refuses to vacate voluntarily. There are no exceptions.