Statewide Eviction Moratorium Extended to December 31
On Thursday, October 9, the Governor announced he is extending the state's eviction moratorium to December 31. The WMFHA Advocacy Team has worked incredibly hard over the past 90 days to advocate for the removal of the moratorium or an alternative path towards normalcy that is reasonable for all parties involved.
We've participated in the Governor's stakeholder group to address our concerns, and provided real solutions to solve the adverse consequences to rental housing providers and residents alike.
The updated moratorium, published by the Governor's office today, largely keeps the same language as the prior moratorium, with the following changes:
- Explicitly excludes holdover tenants who are not documented on the lease and hold over after a tenant permanently vacates the dwelling, unless the landlord has accepted partial or full payment of rent, including labor, are not protected by the Moratorium.
- Requires that an affidavit must be attached to the termination or compliance notice permitted under the moratorium and used to enforce the health and safety issues.
- Health and safety is clarified to include “any behavior by a resident which is imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises (RCW 59.18.130(8)(a)).”
- Requires an affidavit under penalty of perjury with any notice of sale or notice of occupancy termination.
- Explicitly permits communication between the landlord and tenant for “customary and routine communications,” including:
- Communications that reasonably notify the tenant of upcoming rent that is due,
- Provide notice of community events, news or updates,
- Document a lease violation without threatening eviction, or
- Otherwise consistent with the order.
- Permits advance notice of a rent increase that is already specified by the terms of the rental agreement (i.e. automatic annual increase in the rental amount and previously (pre-February 29, 2020) included in the rental agreement), but the rent increase does not take effect until the order expires, or any extension of this order expires. Any notice regarding this provision cannot include any threatening or coercive language including threats of eviction.
WMFHA continues to advocate for the issues that are critical to the ongoing operation of multifamily housing in Washington state. This includes advocacy around rental assistance to address nonpayment of rent, common violations of the statutory obligations of tenants under the RLTA, the rental agreement and community rules. We will continue to highlight to the Governor the harm being caused to residents of multifamily housing in the inability to control compliance with the statutory obligations, rental agreement and community rules, and the overwhelming need to invest in rental assistance and strategies to address nonpayment of rent, so that we do not continue kicking the can down the road.