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

Statewide Housing Practices Proclamation

The following actions regarding residential tenants are prohibited through August 1, 2020, by Governor Inslee in Proclamation 20-19.2:

  • 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 provides 60 days' advance notice of termination for the purposes of occupying the unit as a primary residents or for sale;

  • 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 August 1, 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 sending an invoice or account statement, 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 teannt for exercising his or her rights under the proclamation is also prohibited.

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 following actions regarding residential tenants living in most properties benefiting from federal government assistance are prohibited until July 25, 2020, by Section 4022-24 of the CARES Act:

  • Filing evictions for non-payment of rent;

  • Charging late fees; and

  • Issuing notices of termination of tenancy.

This federal moratorium covers 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.

If a multifamily property receives a mortgage forbearance under the Act, the same prohibitions apply for the duration of the forbearance.

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City of Burien

Late fees

City of Everett

Non-payment of rent

City of Kenmore

Most actions banned

City of Seattle

Most actions banned

King County

Extra Procedural Requirements

Snohomish County

Physical evictions suspended

The City of Burien officially supports the statewide residential moratorium and added a restriction on late fees.

In Everett, the following actions regarding residential tenants are prohibited until April 16, 2020, by Civil Emergency Order:

  • Issuing notices to pay or vacate;

  • Issuing notices of termination of tenancy;

  • Commencing legal action based on non-payment of rent; and

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

In addition, the court may continue any existing case based on non-payment of rent until the ban is terminated.

In Kenmore, the following actions regarding residential tenants and small commercial businesses/non-profits are prohibited until midnight on May 4, 2020, by Proclamation & Emergency Rule:

  • Issuing any notice;

  • Taking any legal action in an eviction case; 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.

In Seattle, the following actions regarding residential tenants and small commercial businesses/non-profits are prohibited until August 1, 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 will be summarized in a separate update.

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 stating (1) any facts creating an exception to a local eviction moratorium; (2) that the landlord made a good faith effort to mediate the dispute; and (3) that the CARES Act eviction moratorium does not apply to the property. Additionally, the court may reschedule hearings as necessary to facilitate social distancing.

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 Superior Court has directed all unlawful detainer hearings to be conducted via telephone.  The county has not imposed any other restrictions beyond those set by the statewide moratorium.

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