April 20, 2020
Washington Governor Jay Inslee extended and expanded a moratorium on evictions and imposed a new temporary freeze on residential rent increases, which remains in effect through June 4th. The measures also now includes a ban on commercial rent increases, if the commercial tenant has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Inslee says, “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.”
In addition to the seven-week extension, a number of new measures designed to protect more tenants were introduced. The adjustment includes a ban on residential rent increases during the public-health emergency. Those in transitional housing, such as motels and Airbnb’s, public camping grounds and mobile-home owners on leased lots, will now also be covered under the extended eviction moratorium.
Landlords are prohibited under Washington’s latest order from threatening to add late fees or charges for non-payment, and can’t charge rent if a tenant’s access to the unit was prevented by COVID-19, such as seasonal and college housing that tenants couldn’t stay in as a result of the crisis.
Pandemic-related unpaid rent since the start of the coronavirus outbreak won’t be treated like regular debt, either. Previously, it could be enforced by collectors or result in an eviction. Now, under the new order, landlords will first have to offer a reasonable repayment plan.
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.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser