This page will be updated as emergency orders are modified, extended, or terminated.

CDC Eviction Moratorium

The Center for Disease Control issued a nationwide moratorium on non-payment of rent evictions of residential tenants through December 31, 2020. To receive the protections, each adult occupant of a unit must delver a declaration to the landlord that he or she: (1) has made best efforts to obtain rent assistance; (2) will earn less than $99,000.00 (or double for married couples) in 2020; (3) is unable to pay the full rent; (4) is making best efforts to pay as much he/she can each month; (5) would likely become homeless if evicted; (6) understands the rent is still due; and (7) understands he/she may be evicted when the moratorium expires.

This federal action does not waive rent, prohibit late fees, prohibit interest, or restrict any action by landlords other than eviction for non-payment of rent. The only action the order prevents is physically removing the tenant; a court can even order eviction provided the physical removal does not occur until after December 31. Under the federal moratorium tenants can still be evicted for any other cause permitted by the rental agreement and month-to-month tenants can still be evicted for no cause.

Statewide Housing Practices Proclamation

The following actions regarding residential tenants are prohibited through December 31, 2020, by Governor Inslee in Proclamation 20-19.4:

  • Issuing any notice that could lead to eviction unless the landlord includes a sworn statement that the action is necessary to respond to a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others;

  • Issuing a notice of termination of tenancy unless the landlord both provides 60 days' advance notice of termination and a sworn statement that the purposes of the termination is either for the owner to personally occupy the unit as a primary residents or for sale of the unit;

  • Taking any action to obtain possession of residential property, including enforcing a requirement to vacate at the end of an expired lease term;

  • Charging rent or other amounts for any period that the resident could not access the dwelling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including closed seasonal or student housing and units where the tenant could not move in because of COVID-19;

  • Charging late fees that accrued between February 29, and December 31, 2020;

  • Increasing the rent or security deposit; and

  • Making any communication asserting that rent is due where the non-payment was a result of COVID-19 and occurred on or after February 29, 2020, including bringing any action in court, notifying the credit bureaus, or withholding a portion of a security deposit. These actions are permitted if the landlord can prove that the tenant was either offered and refused or accepted and failed to comply with "a re-payment plan that was reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident."

Threatening to take any prohibited action or retaliating against a tenant for exercising his or her rights under the proclamation is also prohibited.

Beginning on October 16, 2020, landlords are permitted to have "routine" communications with the tenant about the tenancy, including notifying the tenant of a rent balance, upcoming charges, or reminding the tenant of a lease requirement provided that the communication does not express or imply that failure to comply could lead to eviction or termination of tenancy. A communication is routine if it was part of the landlord's ordinary practice before March 18, 2020.

Landlords of commercial tenants are prohibited from increasing the rent or security deposit requirement if their commercial tenant was materially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, whether personally, as a result of mandatory business closure, or as a result of loss of staff or customers. This does not apply to increases that were agreed to prior to February 29, 2020. You can read the governor's proclamation here.

Several local jurisdictions have enacted more comprehensive local prohibitions. Please see below for details about local restrictions.

CARES Act Eviction Moratorium​

 

The CARES Act eviction moratorium expired on July 25, 2020. After July 25, tenants of "covered properties" must receive 30 days' notice of any action that could terminate their tenancies (for example, a 30 day notice to pay rent or vacate).

In general, "covered properties" include almost all income-based rental programs, including Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties and tenants with Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8). The federal moratorium also covers any property that has a federally backed mortgage loan.

The broader moratorium continues to apply to multifamily properties that received a mortgage forbearance under the act. For these properties, the following following actions regarding residential tenants continue until your mortgage forbearance ends:

  • Filing evictions for non-payment of rent;

  • Charging late fees; and

  • Issuing notices of termination of tenancy.

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City of Auburn

Into the Woods

In Auburn, landlords are required to offer residential tenants a repayment plan for any debt accrued from February 29, 2020, until the governor terminates Governor's Proclamation 20-05 if the non-payment was a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The payment plan that is reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of the tenant. Unless the landlord offers a reasonable repayment plan and the tenant either refuses or fails to comply with it, the landlord is prohibited from:

  • attempting to collect the debt;

  • threatening to collect the debt;

  • sending the debt to collections;

  • filing an unlawful detainer or other legal action for the debt;

  • withholding any portion of a security deposit for payment of the debt;

  • billing or invoicing for the debt;

  • reporting the debt to a credit agency; and

  • attempting to collect the debt by any other means.

The burden is on the landlord to prove the plan was reasonable.

City of Seattle

Cargo Ship at the Port

In Seattle, the following actions regarding residential tenants and small commercial businesses/non-profits are prohibited until December 31, 2020, by Civil Emergency Order:

  • Issue any notice unless there is an "imminent threat to the health or safety";

  • Taking any legal action in an eviction case unless there is an " imminent threat to the health or safety" including acting on expiration of a fixed-term lease; and

  • Charging late fees or other fees due to non-payment of rent.

 

In addition, the court may continue any existing case until the ban is terminated.

Seattle has also passed multiple ordinances addressing unlawful detainers after the city's state of emergency ends. Those restrictions do not take effect until the emergency moratorium ends; they will be summarized in a separate update.

King County

Police Cars

In unincorporated King County only, landlords are required to offer residential tenants and small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic a reasonable payment plan for any unpaid rent due between March 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, and cannot charge late fees during that period. In an eviction based on non-payment or repeated late payment of rent, the court may order a payment plan or other relief after taking the landlord's and tenant's circumstances into account.

King County Superior Court requires the landlord to file and serve a special declaration with all unlawful detainer cases and is conducting all eviction hearings by phone. The court is also participating in the pilot Eviction Resolution Program. The program covers non-payment of rent cases only and requires landlords to include a notice of early resolution and resource information to tenants with any notice to pay or vacate and again prior to serving a summons and complaint and to notify the Volunteers of America how to contact the tenant. Participation is optional during the various eviction moratoria and mandatory after each moratorium expires.

The King County Sheriff is enforcing writs of restitution on a case by case basis. If the court issues a writ, the sheriff will conduct a review to confirm the case meets the requirements of the governor's moratorium to permit law enforcement to act.

Snohomish County

Sloppy Hills

Until the governor terminates the statewide eviction moratorium, Snohomish County Superior Court requires that all landlords notify the Housing Justice Project and the Dispute Resolution Center before filing an unlawful detainer.

If the governor terminates the statewide eviction moratorium before December 31, 2020, landlords are required to comply with the pilot Eviction Resolution Program procedures prior to filing an unlawful detainer based on non-payment of rent. Among other items, the process requires landlords to include a notice of early resolution and resource information to tenants with any notice to pay or vacate and again prior to serving a summons and complaint and to notify the Volunteers of America how to contact the tenant. The program and its requirements may be extended beyond December 31, 2020.

The Volunteers of America are also operating the pilot program on a optional basis during the eviction moratorium. Landlords and tenants can access the program as a means to negotiate rent payment on a voluntary basis until participation in the program becomes mandatory.

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