Washington State Eviction Moratorium Ends This Month

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Washington state’s eviction moratorium will end Oct. 31, unless Gov. Jay Inslee decides to extend it again.

The moratorium was originally set to expire at the end of September, but Inslee extended it another month, saying it would give local municipalities more time to distribute rental assistance aid.

A recent blog post from the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association mapped out the timelines and processes landlords need to be aware of when the ban is lifted.

As eviction moratorium are lifted around the country, many have warned of an “eviction cliff,” although the association does not believe that is likely to happen in Washington.

“That’s because the state has essentially taken over the eviction process,” according to the blog. “The housing provider’s role is to bring any issue of nonpayment of rent to the Dispute Resolution Center through the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program. From that moment forward, the DRC is responsible for seeking assistance on behalf of the tenant and housing provider for past-due rent.”

Between federal and state programs, Washington has access to about $1.8 billion in rental and utilities assistance.

Moving forward, state law will require landlords to offer tenants the option of creating a payment plan. It must be in writing and tenants are allowed 14 days to respond. The plan cannot be greater than three months for every one month of rent owed.

Seattle, which last month extended its eviction ban until January of 2022, has stricter requirements, including three months to repay one unpaid month, five months for two unpaid months and six months for three or more unpaid months.

Even with the state’s moratorium expiring Oct. 31, the association laid out a hypothetical timeline showing it could still take several months for action to be taken in cases where renters do not agree to a payment plan.

Because of the steps involved, it could take until almost mid-January and a second “show cause” hearing in court for a judge to make a decision on an eviction.

When Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan extended the city’s eviction moratorium via executive order, it was the sixth such time she had done so during the pandemic since it was put in place in March of 2020.

A group of local landlords filed a lawsuit against Durkan and Inslee, saying the bans are unconstitutional, as private property owners have been forced to allow tenants to live rent-free for up to 18 months.

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