Seattle homeowner’s ‘nightmare tenant’ situation resolved one year later

Mar 15, 2024, 11:01 AM

constitutional unlawful detainer...

Exterior of Jason Roth's rental property in Madison Valley, the subject of an unlawful detainer case in Washington. (Photo courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show)

A Seattle homeowner’s “nightmare tenant” situation has finally been resolved one year later.

The owner, Jason Roth, had to live in a van instead of his home for a stretch of time.

“Jason, what happened a couple of hours ago at your home with the squatter that had been living in there?” John Curley, co-host of The John and Shari Show, asked Roth.

“The sheriff kicked him out,” he replied.

More on Roth: Nightmare tenant made Seattle landlord go homeless

Roth bought his South Seattle home in 2016. A mechanic by trade, he spent time working on the building so he could list the house as a rental. Roth eventually found a tenant who “appeared responsible,” but on March 1, 2023, the tenant failed to pay their rent. In the subsequent weeks, Roth learned that a portion of his property was being listed on Airbnb and his tenant was turning a profit — all while not paying rent.

After the initial $1,000 from the initial lease agreement, Roth never received a payment from the tenant. He lived in his van on some nights in his van while couch surfing with relatives other nights until he could recover his home.

The first court appearance for this ordeal was Oct. 23 but an attorney supplied by the Housing Justice Project asked for a continuance — pushing the next court date to March 12. The Housing Justice Project is an organization in King County that helps low-income tenants with landlord-tenant law cases. In turn, Roth recruited the Rental Housing Association of Wash.

“I would not look into being a landlord in Washington unless you are a Rental Housing Association member because the laws are changing so fast that even the lawyers can’t keep up with them,” Roth said. “This association, I know it sounds like a plug, but they solved this problem for me by training and teaching me, getting me up to speed, recommending a better lawyer. You can’t keep up with all the changing laws unless you have someone doing that for you.”

The situation crescendoed when Roth discovered a social media account that showed wild parties being thrown at the residence. Roth confirmed that it was his home being shown in the photos, but claimed the tenant “wasn’t a messy guy.” The house was packed with his tenant’s stuff, currently outside the home on the curb, and if he fails to collect his things, Roth would be responsible for disposing it all.

This situation also won’t appear on the tenant’s permanent record.

“Part of the settlement is that it doesn’t get reported to credit,” Roth said. “And there’s nothing on his record. I mean, he has other things on his record. He doesn’t have the cleanest record, but this is not going to be on there.”

Life advice with John Curley: Start your day by dancing naked to Andrea Bocelli

Another part served him a lawsuit amid this eviction process over an unrelated matter, according to Roth.

The current eviction timeline in King County for non-payment of rent takes 360 days minimum, according to the Rental Housing Association.

“One more thing,” Roth added. “I have to throw a backyard barbecue party and have all of you guys come over.”

“Backyard barbecue party? You know, I can think of a few things I’d like to set on fire to start that barbecue if it’s still there in front of your house,” Curley answered.

Listen to John Curley and Shari Elliker weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

John Curley and Jake Skorheim on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Jake Skorheim.

John Curley and Jake Skorheim

John Curley and Jake Skorheim


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Seattle homeowner’s ‘nightmare tenant’ situation resolved one year later