Eviction Moratorium to End Soon

Today I noticed that Gov. Inslee is bringing an end to the eviction moratorium in WA. After two years of not receiving compensation of any kind from tenants or the state, property owners will now have recourse to legally remove nonpaying tenants. Not so fast though! The Governor surely doesn’t want to be remembered for doubling the number of homeless people overnight and has mandated additional rules before an eviction may occur. From The Seattle Times:

State law now requires landlords to offer tenants repayment plans and to notify a local dispute resolution center when they begin the early steps of the eviction process, allowing for possible mediation before a tenant loses their housing. For landlords following that process, state law requires certain waiting periods, such as allowing a tenant 14 days to respond to a payment plan.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/inslee-says-he-will-let-statewide-eviction-limits-expire-sunday/

So evictions are not greenlit yet. The city of Seattle has its own eviction moratorium that won’t expire until 2022. For other areas there are extra steps to go through. First there is a mediation process. Once that has been completed, then the police have to post notice. I can’t change the locks until the possessions of the tenant are all gone or the police tell me that it’s okay to change the locks. The legalities of eviction right now are as certain as the shifting sands. New free legal services are being offered to tenants so the best advice for property rental owners is probably to lawyer up.

I’m starting to get some calls asking about locking out nonpaying tenants. I’m not going to do it without getting the legal green light from the police. This presents its own hurdle since the police force is already spread very thinly in Seattle and what remains of the SPD is probably engaged in higher priority work than evictions.

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Bjørn Madsen

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