Gov. Jay Inslee expanded protections for renters Thursday as COVID-19 continues to impact the finances of Washingtonians statewide.
“It is clear that as we deal with the challenges around COVID-19, the financial impacts on Washingtonians are significant,” Inslee said. “People have lost their livelihoods through no fault of their own and we must continue to take steps to ensure they don’t also lose the roofs over their heads. Continued support and protection for tenants is the right thing to do and I am extending and expanding the moratorium on evictions through the beginning of June, which will allow for two additional rent cycles.”
The governor first proclaimed a moratorium on evictions in mid-March. The original moratorium applied only to dwellings that are captured in the Landlord Tenant Act, and prevented a landlord from evicting or seeking an unlawful detainer order; prohibited landlords from serving any eviction order, or otherwise assisting in an evictions and provided exceptions for property damage, danger posed by a person to the safety/health of others or property.
Notably, the original order did not cover all living situations or every circumstance, nor did it cover commercial rentals and leases.
Inslee’s new proclamation extends and expands the original order through June 4th.
Just as in the original order, the new order prevents landlords from evicting in all situations that fall within the Landlord Tenant Act, and prohibits law enforcement from assisting in any evictions, but today’s proclamation also:
- Prohibits residential evictions in other dwelling situations, including but not limited to:
- Lots/parcels (some motor home owners own the vehicle but lease the lot)
- Transitional housing
- Public lands – camping grounds
- Prohibits enforcement of agreements to vacate.
- Prohibits a landlord from requiring a non-paying tenant to move to a lesser unit, and prevents landlords from threatening to take action against tenants.
- Prohibits landlords from assessing or threatening to assess late fees or other charges for non-payment.
- Prohibits landlord from assessing (or threatening to assess) rent for housing/parcel where the tenants access or use was prevented as a result of COVID. Such as:
- Seasonal/college housing closed;
- People who planned to move in but are prevented from doing so due to COVID-19;
- People who were forced to leave due to COVID needs of their own or others.
- Prohibits landlords from increasing rents or deposits for residential and commercial units.
- As it relates to commercial rental properties, this prohibition applies only if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by the COVID-19, whether personally impacted and is unable to work or whether the business itself was deemed non-essential or otherwise lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- This proclamation protects commercial tenants by prohibiting rent increases or threats of rent increases.
- Prohibits landlords from treating unpaid rent and charges as an enforceable debt, unless the landlord demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence to a court that the resident was offered, and refused or failed to comply with, a reasonable repayment plan that was reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident.
Note: All rent payments delayed through this moratorium will still be owed but a landlord must offer a tenant a reasonable repayment plan to enforce any collection of that debt.