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Property Management Blog

Washington state eviction moratorium update

Updated information on the Washington State eviction moratorium put in place due to the Covet 19 epidemic in 2020 by SJC Management Group's Designated Broker, Jason Clifford.  

Full Transcript:

Hi, I'm Jason with SJC Management Group, and I've been getting a lot of questions about the eviction moratorium here in Washington state, and what exactly it means, how long it's going to be in effect, when it went into effect. Whether it means that you can't vacate a tenant at all, whether it means you can't evict a tenant at all, what it means for late fees, rent increases, lease renewals. So, there's a little bit to unpack with it. To kind of go over what it is and the timeframe for that. It was put into place in March here in 2020 and we're now sitting in late September, heading into October.

At first, it was put in with the intention of just not allowing any evictions or asking tenants to vacate a property no matter the reason. It was extended after a month. And at that time, it was included that rent increases and late fees could not be assessed, and that was in April of 2020. And even if you had put a rent increase in effect months before, because it's a 60-day notice for a rent increase now in Washington state, those had to be backed out and voided out. So, when it was extended again for the, I believe third time, it may have been a fourth extension, I'm sorry, I don't remember, but it was included that there were two reasons that you could evict a tenant. Well, not really evict, but ask a tenant to vacate or require a tenant to vacate. And that is for the purpose on single family homes of occupying the property or for selling the property.

And both of those now require a 60-day notice during the time of this moratorium. So, basically the moratorium means that you cannot evict due to non-payment of rent. It does allow for eviction processes for illegal activities, causing a waste to the property, something that was unknown before the moratorium went into effect can be potentially grounds for eviction. But non-payment of rent is not one, lease expiration is not one. Really, the only ways you can ask a tenant to vacate or require a tenant to vacate is again for the purposes of selling or for occupying that unit, that property. And again, if there is any illegal activity or waste being committed to the property, you can process eviction in those scenarios only.

The moratorium is set to expire October 15th, however, most indications are that that will be extended, particularly because the CDC has issued a nationwide moratorium. Now, the CDC moratorium basically is not as restrictive as the Washington state, it does allow for late fees. It does allow for rent increases, but it does not allow for the eviction of a tenant who... Basically, if it's a single tenant, if they make under $100,000, or if it's a married couple, $200,000 a year, and they give a declaration that they are impacted financially because of COVID, under that CDC moratorium, evictions can not be processed.

And again, that's a nationwide one. So, I think the indication that there is a nationwide moratorium through the end of the year that one's set to expire at the end of 2020 means that the Washington state moratorium will be extended at least through that time, and I think probably into January, maybe perhaps February to give the state legislature some time to take up the issue of non-payment of rent and what to do with those particular tenants and cases moving forward into 2021. So, we'll really have to see what the Washington state legislature does when it convenes in January. If you have any questions about this or renting your property, please give me a call. Again, my name's Jason, I'm with SJC Management Group. Thanks.