Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday a “bridge proclamation” plan to transition Washington out of the state’s current eviction moratorium by Sept. 30.
Joined by this week’s $250,000 COVID-19 vaccine lottery prize winner Marissa P. from Spokane, Inslee also addressed the eviction moratorium he put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan will move the state from the moratorium to housing stability programs the state legislature put in place, he explained.
Prior to his announcement, the eviction moratorium is set to expire on June 30.
“As we all know, COVID has had a significant economic impact on our state and a lot of Washingtonians are still experiencing financial hardships. That is why I put an eviction moratorium in place last year,” Inslee said during the press conference.
The bridge looks to take advantage of more than $1 billion in federal funds available for local governments to provide rental assistance for residents. It also anticipates programs approved by the state legislature, including the Eviction Resolution Pilot Programs and the Right to Counsel program for indigent tenants.
These programs are not yet up and running but are intended to be made available in every county in Washington.
Inslee said this is not an extension of his existing moratorium due to some added provisions that will go into place starting July 1.
Some of the new provisions are that, for past due rent between Feb. 29 of last year and July 31, 2021, landlords cannot evict a tenant until there is an operational rental assistance program and eviction resolution program in place in their particular county.
“These are all reasonable steps and will help ensure that renters and landlords have the opportunity to receive support and resources that are available to them," Inslee said.
Beginning Aug. 1, renters are expected to pay full rent, the amount they have negotiated with their landlord or seek rental assistance funding. If a renter is taking any of those actions, the landlord cannot evict them, according to Inslee.
Landlords must offer tenants who owe past due rent from the moratorium a reasonable re-payment plan before starting the eviction process. Tenants must also be provided, in writing, the support and services that are available to them.
Inslee also removed certain types of housing from the eviction moratorium and his new proclamation, including hotels, long-term care facilities, Airbnbs and other non-traditional housing.