Governor enacts rent freeze, expands evictions ban, due to COVID-19 crisis
On Thursday evening, April 16, Governor Inslee updated and expanded his ban on eviction for all housing providers in the state. The new order now includes a freeze on all rents during the emergency order which has been extended and now expires June 4, 2020.
Under the updated order, rental housing owners may not:
- Increase, or threaten to increase, rent or the amount of any deposit. This includes any increases sent prior to the order which have yet to take effect.
- Assess late fees for non-payment of rent, effective retroactively to February 29, 2020, for rent not paid during the ban.
- Evict residents; which includes both a ban on service of 14 day pay or vacate notices, as well as a ban on service of 10 day notices for rules violations.
- Issue any notice of termination of tenancy.
Other details of the policy include:
- Housing providers are exempt from the notice restrictions if they are able to attach an affidavit attesting that the action is necessary. to respond to a significant and immediate risk to the health and safety of others created by the resident.
- Housing providers are prohibited from seeking or enforcing, or threatening to seek or enforce any eviction orders.
- Law enforcement is prohibited from serving or threatening to serve physical eviction orders.
- Housing providers may not charge rent to property where the tenant may not access the property due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Housing providers may not collect any debt created by the nonpayment of rent or other charges on or after February 29, 2020 during the ban, unless they have offered the tenant a reasonable re-payment plan.
- The ban on rent increases also includes commercial tenants who were impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.