CDC Moratorium Applies in Washington
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a new moratorium on evictions that applies on a case-by-case basis to properties in Washington state and across the United States. The moratorium extends through October 3, 2021.
First, the CDC Moratorium applies to all counties where the risk of contraction of COVID is substantial or high. The CDC provides a map of counties across the country and determines their risk of contraction. Currently only Okanogan, Garfield, and Whitman counties fall outside this threshold.
Second, the moratorium prevents taking any action to pursue an eviction for nonpayment of rent, where a tenant identifies themselves as a “covered person.” The moratorium does not apply to evictions resulting from another basis for termination under Washington’s just cause laws. Moratoria in Seattle, Kenmore, Burien, and Kirkland supersede the CDC moratorium and these local moratoria apply to properties beyond the CDC moratoria.
A “covered person” means a tenant who provides a declaration, signed under penalty of perjury that:
- The tenant has used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
- The tenant either (a) earned no more than $99,000 (individually, or $198,000 if filing taxes jointly) in 2020, or (b) expects to earn no more than $99,000 (individually, or $198,000 if filing taxes jointly) in 2021, or was not required to report any income in 2020.
- The tenant is unable to make the full rent payment due to substantial loss of income, loss of compensable work hours or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- The tenant is using best efforts to make timely partial rental payments that are as close to full payment as the tenant’s circumstances permit.
- Eviction would likely result in the tenant becoming homeless or move within close quarters in new congregate or shared housing.
The declaration can be provided by the tenant in a standard declaration for or in any written manner, but must be signed under penalty of perjury.
Third, the requirements of Washington’s Bridge Proclamation remain in full force and effect. Any property seeking to proceed to a court hearing because of nonpayment of rent, must comply with the state’s Bridge moratorium, and the CDC Moratorium (if applicable).
Practically speaking, this is yet another hoop to jump through to address prior to proceeding to the action of last resort, eviction, and frustrates the already intensive and complicated processes established in the State of Washington.