As soon as her property hit the sidewalk, there were what seemed like crews of junk pickers digging through on the hunt for useful items. By Friday afternoon at 12th and Howell outside the Alyward Apartments, there were still valuables to be had including a rolling suitcase and random electronics. But the futon frame and mattress along with piles of soggy garbage seemed likely to go unclaimed.
The 12th Ave mess was the result of an eviction this week at the Alyward, a person with knowledge of the situation tells CHS. A woman who lived in the building struggled through the eviction notice process and by the point it was time for the King County Sheriff to arrive, the resident was apparently in no shape to deal with her possessions.
A department spokesperson said she was still gathering information on the eviction but, in general, the process requires days of notification so tenants have time to make plans for their property. This timeline from the Tenants Union explains the process and timing.
We are asking the sheriff for more details on this eviction and policies around the removal of property if a tenant is unable to adequately respond to the situation. We are also asking the building’s owner for more information about the situation.
Meanwhile, according to the city’s illegal dumping records, the 12th and Howell location is not yet on the report investigation list. You can see recent reports and status here. Clean-up won’t come quickly. SPU says reports will be “resolved in 10 business days.”
UPDATE 2/13/17 9:33 AM: We’re hoping to learn more from the Sheriff soon but wanted to include information from comments here in the main report. To give you a sense of the timeline in which these processes play out, a complaint filing of unlawful detainer — basically, the legal filing for a landlord to begin eviction proceedings for a tenant who owes rent or is otherwise in violation of a lease — was filed with the court on January 17th. According to the filing, the tenant owed $650 for a unit in the building with a rent of $1,050 a month or $35 per day. The document says the tenant was given a notice to pay rent or vacation on December 22nd. The writ of restitution directing the sheriff to remove the tenant and her possessions was signed by Commissioner Henry Judson on January 27th.
UPDATE 2/15/17 12:45 PM: A spokesperson for the King County Sheriff tells CHS that the detective on this eviction case described the tenant as “coherent and emotionally in control” during the process of removing her property from the apartment:
We served a copy of the notice to the tenant, along with the writ, on 2/1/17. This notice tells them what to expect with regard to their personal property. Our eviction data form asks if the tenants/occupants have any disabilities which was not indicated.
Per the detective that handled the eviction…The property manager did not inform him that there were any disabilities or that the tenant was suffering any mental crisis.
In fact, the tenant was present during the eviction. She was calm and coherent and did not display any unusual emotions or signs of being in mental crisis. The detective spoke to her in length about the eviction process and she responded appropriately.
As her personal property was being placed on the sidewalk area, she calmly collected it and walked it across the street to the nearby Public Storage facility.
“If she had requested storage, or had a physical disability, then her property would have to be stored. If she was incapacitated because of hospitalization or imprisonment, then her property would be stored,” the spokesperson said. “Depending on the severity of any possible mental illness, her property may be stored, as well,” the Sheriff rep writes.
The situation falls under state law RCW 59.18.312 (1):
“If the landlord knows that the tenant is a person with a disability as defined in RCW49.60.040 (as amended by chapter 317, Laws of 2007) and the disability impairs or prevents the tenant or the tenant’s representative from making a written request for storage, it must be presumed that the tenant has requested the storage of the property as provided in this section unless the tenant objects in writing”
Additionally if a tenant is suffering from severe mental crisis, “the detective would have had the King County Mental Health professionals out to evaluate her,” or if necessary, he would have had her involuntarily evaluated at Harborview, the spokesperson said.
Thanks to the King County Sheriff for providing more insight on the situation.