Gov. Jay Inslee announced a “bridge” proclamation today between the eviction moratorium and the housing stability programs put in place by the Legislature. The bridge is effective July 1 through September 30.
More than $650 million of federal relief dollars allocated to assist renters is predicted to be available beginning in July. This is in addition to the $500 million dollars previously released by the Department of Commerce to local governments for rental assistance and will help more than 80,000 landlords and renters.
“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,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “These are all reasonable steps and will help ensure that renters and landlords have the opportunity to receive support and resources that are available to them.”
The eviction moratorium bridge will allow for a transition to the tenant protections established in SB 5160, including the Eviction Resolution pilot programs and the Right to Counsel program for indigent tenants.
The bridge is not an extension of the existing eviction moratorium, first declared in March 2020. Under the new order, new provisions will support renters and landlords until resources and programs become available.
For past rent due from February 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. Additionally, landlords are prohibited from treating past unpaid rent or other charges as an enforceable debt until the landlord and tenant have been provided with an opportunity to resolve nonpayment through an eviction resolution pilot program.
Beginning August 1, renters are expected to pay full rent, reduced rent negotiated with landlord, or actively seek rental assistance funding. Landlords may only evict a tenant if none of those actions are being taken but must offer the tenant a reasonable re-payment plan before beginning the eviction process. Tenants must also be provided, in writing, the services and support available.
Hotels and motels, Airbnbs, long-term care facilities and other non-traditional housing are exempt from the order. The full proclamation and details will be available in the coming days.