Please get the fuck out of my house.
August 20, 2018 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever filed for an "ejectment" in WA state? How did you get your SO to leave your house? In March my SO and I had an incident that culminated in his arrest, charges of assault and property destruction against him, and a Protective Order between us. Long story short, charges were eventually dropped and the PO was cancelled. While the PO was in effect, SO was living with a friend. For me, the day he was arrested was the day he stopped living in my home......

(YANML, YANAL, this is not legal advice, etc. I'm talking to a lawyer later but want to minimize my bill if possible). This is in Seattle WA.

In March my SO and I had an incident that culminated in his arrest, charges of assault and property destruction against him, and a Protective Order between us. Long story short, charges were eventually dropped and the PO was cancelled. While the PO was in effect, SO was living with a friend. For me, the day he was arrested was the day he stopped living in my home.

(PS he is unemployed, has no income, has not worked for pay in 20 years or so and has like 5 million mental health issues.)

I have told him many times not to come back, he can't live there., etc. Orally and in writing via text and email.

I was back east with our kid in July, and surprise surprise!, he came back while we were gone. He wouldn't leave. He and the kid took another trip shortly thereafter and they returned last night. He still won't leave.

I've made it clear he's not welcome but that doesn't matter, and he doesn't care about upsetting the kid obviously although that's what he hides behind when *I* get too riled up to control myself. He won't leave, so I have to. Every. single. time.

Anyway, the point of this is....from my reading, I need to file an "ejectment" against him in order for him to be legally kicked out (not an "eviction" as he never paid rent or was on the lease so it's not the usual process). However, I also hear that this takes WEEKS to process and I don't have weeks before I do something I will likely later regret.

**Has anyone in WA done such a thing, and how did it work?** Do you have any other bright ideas to get this fucking guy out of my house?!?! I actually own and rent out a condo in Cap Hill that is totally empty for 2 weeks and he won't even go there so we can cool out and not torture our poor child anymore. Nope.

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate ANY input.
posted by clseace to Law & Government (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry this is happening. Re: avoiding a big lawyer bill, a major city like Seattle certainly offers free legal clinic for people in domestic trouble? I'm sure someone else will know better. But in my experiences, with the free services you can often get much better legal help from committed pro bono volunteers, than from the guys who are out there charging money.
posted by johngoren at 10:22 AM on August 20, 2018

WA state evictions are not easy and favor the tenant at every turn.
I would suggest that you contact a domestic violence victim advocacy group and legal support that way. If you don't get someone out lawfully, it becomes even harder to remove them. If you let him use your condo, you'd ultimately have to evict him from there.
You might contact the SPD Community Service Unit or KCSO Community Service for legal information about evictions.
If there is another incident, report it and ask for a No Contact Order, and then file for a Protection Order.

This is a tough situation, I'm sorry that you're going through this.
posted by jennstra at 10:24 AM on August 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

You are in a terrible predicament. Can you at least have the locks changed? That would be a cheap way to start. And if he broke in you should call the police. The advice to contact domestic violence group is something that jennstra suggested and you sure could do that.
posted by JayRwv at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I failed to mention, follow the stated eviction process exactly, if you miss a step it negates the eviction. Don't change the locks, it's not allowed and he could end up with a legal win. Patience is required, as for support from someone that you can call when it gets bad and you want to do something rash. Do not do anything illegal, I've seen DV evictions go sideways quickly, if he knows the system he can use it against you. There's a resource group offered by the city. I don't know how to link it. Just Cause Eviction Ordinance City of Seattle. There's a phone number listed for legal support.
posted by jennstra at 10:35 AM on August 20, 2018 [11 favorites]

Can you at least have the locks changed? That would be a cheap way to start.

I don't know WA law, but changing the locks on an otherwise legal tenant is likely to be viewed as a form of constructive eviction; if that's not allowed under WA law under these circumstances (again, I don't know), OP will be getting herself into a real quagmire. I would only do this as a last resort in the worst-case scenario, as a choice preferable to being physically assaulted.
posted by praemunire at 10:36 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

do not change locks, do not let him push you out of the home. talk to your lawyer and follow their directions. tenant law as it intersects with marital law is messy business and no one on the internet can give you the advice you desperately need.

a thing to ask your lawyer about, if it's possible, you say you're leasing and he doesn't pay bills - you could move and then he wouldn't be a tenant in your home any longer. but again, don't do anything without your lawyer's counsel.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:40 AM on August 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would see if one of the domestic abuse legal services outfits can give you some help?
posted by *s at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Domestic Violence agency such as New Beginnings, DAWN or Lifewire can assist you with navigating these issues. Even if you don't want/need DV advocacy, I gurantee they can point you to targeted resources for this.
posted by Gorgik at 11:03 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do not take advice on how to get him out of your house from Ask.Me. You can take the advice for referrals to a local legal aid resource or local domestic violence resource or how to prepare to meet an attorney; but self-help advice from Ask.Me about removing someone from your and their home is bad news. Ejectment is not eviction--in most places (and I don't know Washington law so this may not be true there), they're not even in the same part of the Code.

At any rate, emergency orders take time to get the court order, serve and enforce the order. "Self help" in the meantime--like changing the locks or throwing his belongings onto the pavement--tends to backfire. It's unfair and expensive but your best bet is to just sit tight and minimize your interactions while you start the legal process of removing him and then secure your home against his return.

Before you go to your lawyer's appointment, write down a timeline of events, including every time you have told him to leave and every time you yourself have left. Then write down your desired timeline for resolution. Collect a copy of every written document pertaining to the ownership and occupancy of your house (mortgage, tax bills, utility bills, deeds). Collect every document related to your request that he leave. Bring documents related to child custody and travel. Collect every written document you have related to the protective order and his arrest. Make a list of what documents you have--keep them in order according to the list.. Then write down your remaining questions.

My questions would be: Are my expectations for his removal reasonable? If not, what is the court likely to do? How can I ask for a better outcome and what is likely to come from that? How quickly can the process be expedited? How soon after his removal can I change the locks? How soon can I discard anything he left behind? What do I need to do if he comes back? While I'm waiting for the ejectment, can I take my child and live somewhere else? If my living somewhere else while I wait causes a legal issue, what can I do to protect us while I wait for the ejectment?

Ask about finding a temporary guardian for your child. A grandparent? A friend? It's trivially easy and common in my jurisdiction to assign and revoke temporary guardianship without a court in these sorts of circumstance, but I have no idea how it works in Washington. That would certainly relieve some stress.
posted by crush at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2018 [26 favorites]

I'm with Crush. A hostile eviction/ejectment of a co-resident is a bad time, and documenting things (particularly to something that gets backed up to the cloud) is a good move. Scan your existing legal documents using your phone's camera, such as the arrest-related docs mentioned above.

Since this process could mean weeks of him still being there, it's also time to consider removing your own valuables from the house, and documenting anything that can't be moved-- document who paid for it and the value (with receipts where possible). If he goes and takes the TV with him, well, it's up to you whether you'd rather lose the TV than see him in court over the TV's return (or its value), but documenting now means you get the choice later.

Take pictures of every room; you'll have grounds to sue if he decides to smash the windows or worse.

Not sure if something is worthy of documenting?
posted by Sunburnt at 12:07 PM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would Nth calling local DV organizations.

I used to work at a law office assisting people with filing for protection orders in court. At least in PA, you can get a temporary protection order day-of and the judge can choose to grant eviction with it; it's pending a court date when the judge will rule on whether to grant the permanent order, and whether it comes with eviction or no eviction.

So, you may want to look into re-filing for the protection order. This can be a quick way to get an abuser evicted. Ask your local DV agencies though.
posted by bearette at 12:15 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

You need local lfegal advice, and a domestic violence program can provide some help or pint you in the right direction.
posted by theora55 at 12:34 PM on August 21, 2018

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