Proper Service of Notices

Posted By: Denise Myers Management ,

Any notices regarding end of tenancy must be served on the tenant under RCW 59.12.040. While other notices must simply be given to tenants in writing, RHAWA recommends serving all notices. Serving notices incorrectly can lead to significant delays in an eviction proceeding or even a judgement that is not in your favor. Always select the appropriate notice form for the situation and use the most current version available at rhawa.org/rental-forms-leases-notices, Tenant Notices.

Determine timing for serving notice. 
Count the day of service + extra day for mailing, then count calendar days depending on required waiting period listed below, and then be prepared to take permitted action on the following day. 

  • 1 day: Notice of Entry for showing
  • 2 days: Notice of Entry for maintenance/inspection
  • 3 days: Notice to Quit
  • 10 days: Notice to Comply or Vacate
  • 14 days: Offer of payment plan + ERP Notice + 14-Day Pay or Vacate Notice

If serving notice based on number of days prior to the end of a rental period, beginning from the last day of a rental period, count calendar days backward depending on required notice period listed below. Add two more days for posting/delivering and mailing.

  • 60 days: Rent increase (longer period required in some areas) *
  • 30 days: Other change in terms*
  • 20-120 days: End of tenancy
  • 60 days: End of term

*"Service" not required by law, but recommended under some circumstances.

Prepare the notice form.

  • Download the appropriate and most recent version of form from RHAWA Tenant Notice forms.
  • List all known adult occupants on the “Resident(s)” line.
  • Completely fill out form with all required details. Any details omitted at service can have serious impact on result in court.
  • Make two copies for each adult occupant, and two additional copy for “all other occupants”.
  • Prepare one set for hand delivery and other set for mailing.

Deliver OR post the notices.

  • Ring or knock on the door and wait for answer.
  • Place one notice into the palm of each resident or hand enough copies for each occupant to one responsible person plus an additional copy for any other occupants.
  • If no one answers, post a copy “conspicuously” on the door.

Mail the notices.

  • Mailing alone is NEVER sufficient.
  • While not required if you hand deliver a copy to each resident, mailing is still recommended.
  • Must be mailed from the county in which the rental property is located.
  • Mail copies in separate envelopes to each known occupant and an additional copy addressed to “All Other Occupants”.
  • Only regular first-class mail meets the legal requirement for “mailing”.
  • For proof of mailing, you can request a receipt, or “certificate of mailing” from the post office.
  • Certified mail and/or other service methods may be additionally required by the terms of your lease. (Not required by the RHAWA lease.)

Complete the Declaration of Service Form

  • A Declaration of Service form is included in all RHAWA tenant notice form packets.
  • The person who served the notice must complete the document.
  • Best practice is to complete on the same day as service.
  • Retain declaration along with a copy of the notice served.

If the tenant has not taken the required action by the date specified in the notice, work with an attorney to enforce. 

This article may also be found in RHAWA’s members-only Support Center at rhawa.org/support-center.