WA Legal Roundup - Division I
Whisand had tried to circumvent a 20 day notice to vacate on his month to month oral lease by paying Ledas his usual monthly rent. Ledas handed the money orders to their attorney, who deposited them in trust and wrote a letter to Whisand stating that he had done so and the money orders submitted were not rent. The court, in looking to the WRLTA, noted that his argument may have had sway if the money was accepted to cure a previous deficiency in rent. However, such was not the case here, and no new contract was formed via mutual assent.
The court did remand based on the fact that, after counsel for Whisand asked the court to examine the witnesses as to the date the original tenancy was created, the court refused to do so, instead putting 100% of the burden on the parties in their offer of proof. However, the WRLTA puts an affirmative duty on the court to "examine the parties and witnesses orally to ascertain the merits of the complaint and answer."