Lawyers in Seattle
April 6, 2006 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a good lawyer in Seattle...

My ex-landlord is being seriously whacked. She wants to convert the apartment building to condos, but failed to follow the required notification process, then begged all the current tennants 'forgive' her mistake, accept some moving help from her, and get out of the apartments by 31st of last month so she could start renovating before the sale. Now she's coming after me for charges the lease explicity denies her a right to collect, she wants to charge extra for the furniture I left behind, despite the fact that is was placed in the trash area as per the lease. She's taking the bogus charges out of my security deposit, so there's no way I can just refuse to pay, and for a couple hundred dollars max, it just doesn't seem worth the effort to recover it from her. I'd much rather spend the same amount on a lawyer who'll go over her construction permits/etc with a fine tooth comb and delay her supposedly urgent conversion by a good six months or more.
posted by nomisxid to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not sure it's what you're looking for, but the Seattle/King County Bar Assoc has a free referral service. No site, but their details are here.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:55 PM on April 6, 2006

Since you are asking for a referral, I can suggest this firm. I would have sent you the referral in an email but you didn't have an address listed on your profile. Any of them can help you. (Full of them is a friend of mine.)

IANAL, but your situation seems like a pretty staightforward contract dispute. You still have a copy of your lease, right?
posted by luneray at 9:22 AM on April 7, 2006

I am a lawyer but this is not legal advice, just internet talk:

I know that in many jurisdictions, if a landlord wrongfully withholds all or part of a security deposit rightfully owed to a tenant, the tenant can recover a multiple of the entire deposit should they fight it.

According to this site:

After a tenant moves out, a landlord has 14 days in which to either return deposits, or give the tenant a written statement of why all or part of the money is being kept. It is advisable for the tenant to leave a forwarding address with the landlord when moving out.

Under the law, the rental unit must be restored to the same condition as when the tenant moved in, except for normal wear and tear. Deposits cannot be used to cover normal "wear and tear", or damage that existed when the tenant moved in. (Under the law, a damage checklist should have been filled out when the tenant moved in. )

The landlord is in compliance with the law if the required payment, statement, or both, are deposited in the U.S. mail with first class postage paid within 14 days. If the tenant takes the landlord to court, and it is ruled that the landlord intentionally did not give the statement or return the money, the court can award the tenant up to twice the amount of the deposit.

There is also the possibility that you could get your attorney's fees paid for, but you'd have to talk with your lawyer to figure out what the applicable law is.
posted by buddha9090 at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2006

Tenants Union can refer you.
posted by matildaben at 2:24 PM on April 7, 2006

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