July 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Home: Support for Tenants and Landlords


Note: The Board of Trustees of the Public Law Library of King County announces the resignation of Rita Dermody, director and law librarian, effective in November. The Board extends its great appreciation to Dermody for her 12 years of service as collection access services librarian and six years as director. The Board is searching for a new director.

There are several legal service providers in King County that provide excellent and extensive service for tenants who are facing eviction or other issues affecting their housing. Some of the major providers include the Housing Justice Project (sponsored by the King County Bar Association), Legal Action Center (a part of Catholic Community Services - Housing Services), and the Tenants Union.

One segment of the population for which there is limited support are landlords who own a house or two that they rent or lease or who are renting a room in their homes, and legitimately need to evict a tenant. The eviction process is very precise and requires a roadmap to complete successfully.

There is sometimes a perception that landlords are wealthy, uncaring property owners who prey upon helpless tenants. However, we have found in our experience in helping landlords who come to the library is that they are often desperate, lower-income people with little or no access to resources for what can seem like a helpless situation. They may need to evict tenants who quit paying rent, are destructive or have problems associated with drug or alcohol abuse.

The most difficult situations affecting these individuals are when friends or relatives have been allowed to stay on their property or in the house for a few weeks or months "until they can get back on their feet" and are now refusing to leave. Evicting an adult child living with the parent and whose behavior or circumstances have become difficult is also a challenge.

There are limited services available to these landlords, such as the KCBA Neighborhood Legal Clinics, Northwest Justice Project, etc., but there is very little written guidance, printed or on the Internet.

The legal service providers do an excellent job with limited funding and have prioritized their services accordingly. We would like to start a conversation on how we can better serve this population of landlords.


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