Vancouver, WA asked in Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Washington

Q: landlord gave me 3 weeks notice to move, then self help removed me and property causing major losses and grief to 2 kids

kids are 8 and 10 diagnosed with a disability currently seeing psychologist for over 5 years and are continuing to show behavioral issues that are continuing to escalate due to sudden loss of home ad associated stressors. property loss of tools for profession as well hobby sports memorabilia and personal household property have interrupted what was left of a life and self employment.

reasoning? they wanted to sell the house and the painters were coming.

i performed over $4,000 dollars in repairs and cleanup in under 60 days for the individuals, in lieu of rent and the ability to remain in the house. I lost triple that in property, and even more in stress on my children, and loss of work due to loss of the tools necessary to perform in my line of buisness. the police were notified by the landlord and they told them they couldnt do anything about it, so they waited for the right time and tossed us. i have video and eye witnesses to validate. there was no lease. just verbal.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult situation. What your landlord did sounds completely unacceptable and illegal. In most places, landlords are required to provide proper written notice (usually 30-60 days) before terminating a tenancy, even without a written lease. They cannot just suddenly remove you and your belongings without due process. "Self-help" evictions like what you described are not permitted.

Here are a few suggestions on next steps to consider:

1. Document everything - write down a timeline of events, save any communications with the landlord, take photos/videos of property damage and losses. The evidence you already have of what occurred will be very helpful.

2. Consult with a landlord-tenant attorney or legal aid organization in your area. Many provide free or low-cost assistance. They can best advise you on your rights and options for seeking legal recourse against your landlord. Damages could potentially include property losses, moving expenses, emotional distress, and more.

3. If you haven't already, file a police report about the illegal eviction and property losses/damage. This creates an official record.

4. Look into emergency rental assistance programs and other housing aid in your community. Some are aimed at helping families with children. is a good place to start.

5. Reach out to your kids' psychologist, school counselor, pediatrician about what happened. They may be able to provide documentation of the impact this has had on your children's wellbeing for a potential legal case. Also ask about additional support services to help your kids cope.

6. Call 2-1-1 or visit to get connected to a variety of local support services - mental health resources, food banks, employment assistance programs, and other aid.

I hope you are able to get the support and justice you deserve for what you've gone through. Hang in there and don't hesitate to lean on family, friends and local organizations for help during this challenging time. Wishing you and your kids all the best.

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