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Statewide Moratorium on Evictions

March 18, 2020

March 18, 2020 3:00pm

Governor Inslee announced a thirty-day moratorium on evictions statewide. In the next couple of days I will have more information and resources about best practices for landlords during the moratorium period. LandlordSolutions will continue to remain open to answer questions and process tenant screening.

What does this mean for landlords:

  1. Landlords are prohibited from serving a notice to pay or vacate or a notice to terminate tenancy.
  2. Landlords are prohibited from taking any action to serve or file an unlawful detainer during the moratorium period.
  3. Law enforcement may not enforce writs for non-payment of rent.
  4. Notices that have been served will be on hold until the moratorium has been lifted.
  5. No judicial action may be taken seeking a writ of restitution.
  6. Scheduled court dates will be rescheduled after the moratorium period.
  7. Supreme Court Order requires civil matters shall be continued until after April 24, 2020.
  8. Landlords may serve notices and proceed with unlawful detainers for health and safety reasons.

Important note:

The statewide moratorium is the floor. Meaning that cities are permitted to pass a moratorium that is more restrictive or for a longer duration. Additional cities have drafted their own bans waiting final approval from their respective councils. However, these bans by be considered moot now with a statewide moratorium. I will keep you posted on any changes locally or statewide.

The Attorney General's office assisted with drafting the thirty-day moratorium order. You can expect that any violation of the statewide moratorium may lead to an investigation by the AG's office.

Please continue to check back regularly for updates.

Assistance for renters

Among the measures announced by the governor is a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 days. As Washington faces the economic impacts of COVID-19, no person should be put out of their home as a result.

Residential landlords are prohibited from serving a notice of unlawful detainer for default payment of rent. Residential landlords would also be prohibited from issuing a 20-day notice for unlawful detainer, unless the landlord attaches an affidavit attesting that the action is believed necessary to ensure the health and safety of the tenant or other individuals.

Under these measures, law enforcement may not enforce eviction orders based solely on non-payment of rent. This excludes other circumstances, such as the commission of a crime on the premises or nuisance issues.

Additionally, residential landlords would be prohibited from initiating judicial action seeking a writ of restitution involving a dwelling unit if the alleged basis for the writ is the failure of the tenant or tenants to timely pay rent.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his legal team helped craft the proclamation temporarily halting evictions.

“In this public health emergency, it’s important to strengthen our social safety net to protect vulnerable Washingtonians,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “I appreciate Gov. Inslee’s leadership, and the opportunity to work with his team to safeguard Washingtonians from homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

There was good news from the federal government related to housing today as well. The Federal Housing Finance Agency directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more details visit www.governor.wa.gov

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LandlordSolutions does not provide legal advice. The information we provide is general information for landlords. If you need legal advice or have questions about the application of the law in a particular matter, you should consult a lawyer.

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