Here in Washington, much like the rest of the United States, landlords, tenants, and rental management companies alike find themselves in difficult situations because of eviction moratoriums. Many are simply scrambling to keep up with the rules as they change.
Washington State Rental Property Management Companies will be restricted from evicting tenants until at least 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2021. An Emergency Proclamation by the Governor Amending Prior Proclamations on the Eviction Moratorium was released on October 4, 2021. It reads:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jay Inslee, Governor of the state of Washington, as a result of the above noted situation, and under Chapters 38.08, 38.52 and 43.06 RCW, do hereby proclaim that a State of Emergency continues to exist in all counties of Washington State, that as of the date of this proclamation the majority of available rental assistance funding has not yet been distributed, and that because full implementation of Senate Bill 5160 has not yet occurred, Proclamation 20-05 et seq. and 21-09, et seq., are hereby amended to temporarily impose certain prohibitions and shall continue to preserve residential tenancy until 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2021, as provided herein.
Protection from Eviction
Now that the CDCs order that temporarily halted evictions in counties with “heightened levels of community transmission” has ended (October 3), Washington State has stepped in to protect renters from eviction for past due rent between Feb. 29, 2020 through July 31, 2021.
Landlords are prohibited from:
- Evicting a tenant until there is an operational rental assistance program and eviction resolution program in place in their county.
- Treating past unpaid rent or other charges as an enforceable debt until the landlord and tenant have been provided an opportunity to resolve nonpayment through an eviction resolution pilot program.
But, to avoid unnecessary and avoidable economic hardship to landlords, property owners, and property managers who are economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, tenants, residents, and renters who are not financially affected by COVID-19 should and must continue to pay rent.
Since August 1, 2021 renters have been expected to pay their rent in full rent, a reduced rental payment negotiated with their landlord, or actively seek rental assistance funding. Landlords may only evict a tenant if none of those actions are being taken and after they have provided a written list of the services and support available for rental assistance and offered the tenant a reasonable repayment plan before starting the eviction process.
Reasons for the extended moratorium
There are several reasons the eviction moratorium was put into place and has been given so many extensions but it boils down to hardships experienced because of Covid-19. This summer Jay Inslee said in a press conference, “As we all know, COVID has had a significant economic impact on our state and a lot of Washingtonians are still experiencing financial hardships. That is why I put an eviction moratorium in place last year.”
Reasons listed in the recent emergency proclamation include:
- The majority of available rental assistance funding has not yet been distributed
- Full implementation of Senate Bill 5160* has not yet occurred
- The economic downturn and subsequent layoffs and reduced work hours in Washington State
- The disproportionate impact of the layoffs on low- and moderate-income workers
- Increases in life, health and safety risks that come with being evicted
Senate Bill 5160 addresses landlord-tenant relations by providing certain tenant protections during and after public health emergencies, providing for legal representation in eviction cases, and authorizing landlord access to state rental assistance programs.
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We’re committed to providing all the latest information that landlords and property managers need in order to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to pandemic eviction rules.
Check in for future updates as they become available, and contact us to learn more about how a professional rental management company can help your rental business through the uncertain months ahead.