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COVID-19

Resources and Information for Housing Providers and Renters


Summary of Current Orders

WA State Orders

Local Jurisdiction Additions/Modifications

Eviction Moratorium through 6/30/21 which includes: 

  • A ban on service of 14 day pay or vacate notices. 

  • A ban on service of 10 day notices for rules violations. 

  • No terminations of tenancy or notices to terminate tenancy, including at the end of a lease term.

Exceptions: 

    • If the landlord, property owner, or property manager attaches an affidavit attesting that the action is necessary to respond to a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others created by the resident

    • The landlord or property owner intends to personally occupy the premises as their primary residence, or sell the property. Such a 90-day* notice of intent to sell or personally occupy shall be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury.

*Notice period increased from 60 to 90 days under HB 1236.

Six counties (Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Thurston) have been chosen to participate in the pilot Eviction Resolution Program (ERP). Each ERP will operate in accordance with the enabling order from the Washington State Supreme Court, and a standing order of the local superior court. These orders will require landlords to undertake efforts to engage tenants in pre-filing resolution efforts including direct negotiation, facilitated conciliation services, and, upon agreement of both parties, formal mediation.

King County Sheriff: Will not serve writ of restitution or perform physical evictions until further notice.

Unincorporated King County: Provides defense to evictions through March 1, 2021.

Seattle:

  • Emergency order extended to June 30, 2021 currently.
  • The exception for sale or owner occupation is not included in mayor's orders.
  • Any eviction history during COVID-19 moratorium cannot ever be considered in tenant screening. Statement to this effect must be included on rental application.
  • Seattle city council has passed legislation that will extend eviction bans for 6 months after the end of the Mayor’s emergency orders
No rent increases or notices to increase rent through 6/30/21 (retroactive to 2/29/2020).
  • Do not give notice of rent increase or offer renewal with rent increase, even if actual increase is set to take place after 6/30/21.
  • A landlord, property owner or property manager of manufactured housing may now provide a notice of rent increase to a tenant if the rent increase was included as terms of the lease agreement and the notice clearly states that the rent increase will not take place until after the moratorium expires.
No enforcement of rent payment if tenant was unable to occupy premises due to COVID-19 related circumstances.

No charging of late fees through 6/30/21 effective retroactively to February 29, 2020, for rent not paid during the ban.

Seattle: No late fees or interest.

Auburn: No late fees or other charges.

No collection of debt incurred after 2/29/2020 without offer of reasonable payment plan, including use of security deposit until after 6/30/21.

Seattle: Must offer uniform payment plans: ≤1 month overdue = 3 installments; 2 months overdue = 5 installments; > 2 months overdue = 6 installments; or other mutually agreed plan.

Auburn: Payment plan must be proven reasonable based on tenant's financial situation.


Rental Subsidies by County

View the availble rent assistance resources here.


Government Updates

RHAWA is actively working with cities, counties, and the Governor and Legislature to implement and understand emergency rental housing measures being put in to place for the rental housing industry, including pushing for direct financial support for renters and housing providers to ensure that homes remain open.

Federal Housing Administration's Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium

  • Effective March 18, 2020
  • Evictions of persons from properties secured by FHA-insured Single Family mortgages are suspended for 60 days.
  • Deadlines of first legal action and reasonable diligence timelines are extended by 60 days.

Inslee extends eviction moratorium, public utilities proclamation on March 18, 2021.

  • The state eviction moratorium is extended to June 30, 2021.  
  • Clarifies that among the existing permissible reasons for seeking to evict a tenant is a tenant’s behavior that can be imminent be hazardous to safety of others on the premises. 
  • Requires that any 60-day notice to vacate if an owner intends to occupy or sell the premises must be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury. 
  • Clarifies that the order is not intended to permit unauthorized or illegal occupants into a dwelling who are not listed on the lease to remain or hold over unless the landlord owner, or property manager has accepted partial or full payment of rent, including payment in the form of labor. 
  • Nothing in this order precludes a landlord, property owner, or property manager from engaging in customary and routine communications with residents of a dwelling or parcel of land occupied as a dwelling. “Customary and routine” means communication practices that were in place prior to the issuance of Proclamation 20-19 on March 18, 2020, but only to the extent that those communications reasonably notify a resident of upcoming rent that is due; provide notice of community events, news, or updates; document a lease violation without threatening eviction; or are otherwise consistent with this order. It is permissible for landlords, property owners and property managers to provide information to residents regarding financial resources, and to provide residents with information on how to engage with them in discussions regarding reasonable repayment plans as described in this order. 
  • Governor says he will continue to work with stakeholders over the next 30 days to consider additional amendments to the moratorium to ensure that the moratorium’s protections for non-payment of rent apply narrowly to those impacted by the COVID-19. 
  • For Manufactured Housing Communities under RCW 59.20 landlords are allowed to send advance notices of future rent increases, as long as the notice clearly provides that the rent increase will not go into effect until after the moratorium expires. 

    Previous orders: Governor's Moratorium on Evictions | Modified Order | Updated Order October 14, 2020 Extension

    Governor Shelter in Place Order

    • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
    • List of Essential Industries
    • Ordinance 2020-0191AN ORDINANCE relating to residential and commercial tenant protections during the COVID-19 pandemic; and declaring an emergency. - PASSED 6/23/2020
      • The legislation creates affirmative defense to an eviction proceeding if the tenant would be required to leave the unit between March 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021, for either nonpayment of rent or for a violation of rules in the rental agreement.

        • The defense is available when the reason for termination of tenancy is based on:
          • The tenant's failure to comply with a fourteen-day notice to pay rent or vacate
          • The tenant's habitual failure to comply with terms of the rental agreement resulting in the Housing Provider serving a notice to comply or vacate or a notice to pay rent or vacate three or more times within a twelve-month period.
        • To assert the defense the tenant must prove that the failure to pay or comply with the rules was due to the following reasons:
          • Illness
          • Loss or reduction of income
          • Loss of employment
          • Reduction of compensate hours of work
          • Business or office closure
          • A need to miss work to care for a family member or child, where that care is uncompensated
          • Other similar loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic
        • When considering whether to apply the defense afforded to tenants, the Court should balance the equities of the parties and consider material impacts to the owner as well as to the tenant.
        • The legislation also creates an affirmative defense to an eviction proceeding if the housing provider fails to offer a payment plan to residential and small commercial tenants experiencing a COVID-19 pandemic related hardship, as defined above, between March 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021.
          • Late fees, interest or other charges due to late payment of rent shall not accrue by March 1, 2021.
        • Housing Providers may not take any reprisal or retaliatory action against a tenant who exercises their rights under this ordinance.
    • King County Superior Court Emergency Order #15
    • All hearings, motions, and trials on residential evictions are stayed until April 17, 2020.
    • Sheriff Statement stopping the issuance of writs of restitution.
    • Suspending service or enforcement of evictions from March 17, 2020 until further notice.
    • Will still accept and keep court evictions sent to the Sheriff’s office but will not act upon them until they can do so later.
    • Mayor’s Original Executive Order 
    • Moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment ordered March 14, 2020 until the Proclamation of Civil Emergency ends, or 30 days after this Emergency Order. Will be evaluated for possible extension later.
    • Owner of a housing unit cannot issue or act upon an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, and no late fees or other charges from late payment shall accrue.
    • Housing providers are prevented from bringing forward civil eviction proceedings. The court can grant a future hearing for an eviction to be heard after the moratorium.
    • Modified Order 
      • Added Commercial Evictions

      • Increased the ban from 30 to 60 days

      • Included Commercial eviction in the ban

      • Prevented law enforcement from executing physical evictions

    • June 18, 2020 Modified Order
    • December 15, 2020 Extension
      • Extends the Eviction Moratorium through March 31, 2021.
    • CB 119784 - AN ORDINANCE relating to termination of residential rental tenancies; providing a defense to evictions occurring within six months after the termination of the Mayor's residential eviction moratorium as amended by Resolution 31938; amending Section 22.206.160 of the Seattle Municipal Code; declaring an emergency; and establishing an immediate effective date; all by a 3/4 vote of the City Council. - PASSED MAY 6, 2020 
      • Housing Providers are preventing from bringing forward civil eviction proceedings within six months after the termination of the Mayor’s Eviction Moratorium if the reason for eviction is: 

        • The tenant fails to comply with a 14-day notice to pay-or-vacate during or six months after the Mayor’s Eviction Moratorium.

        • The tenant habitually fails to pay rent resulting in four or more pay-or-vacate notices within a 12 month period.

      • If a Housing Provider issues an eviction notice for the above reasons within the six month eviction ban then the notice must include this statement or it will be used as a defense to eviction: 

        • “If you cannot pay rent, during or within 6 months after the end of the Mayor’s moratorium on evictions, your inability to pay is a defense to eviction that you may raise in court.”
      • A court may require a tenant who successfully asserts a defense in a 14-day pay-or-vacate during or six months after the Mayor’s Moratorium Eviction to pay any owed rent in installments.

      • A court may require a tenant who successfully asserts a defense in a 14-day pay-or-vacate during or six months after the Mayor’s Moratorium Eviction to pay any owed rent in installments.

      • Attorney fees and court costs to a Housing Provider from an eviction proceeding regarding the listed reasons above are prohibited.

      • This bill would take effect immediately due to emergency

    • CB 119787 - AN ORDINANCE relating to the use of eviction records; regulating the use of eviction history in residential housing; prohibiting landlords from considering evictions related to COVID-19 during and after the civil emergency; amending the title of Chapter 14.09 and Sections 14.09.005, 14.09.010, 14.09.020, and 14.09.030 of, and adding a new Section 14.09.026 to, the Seattle Municipal Code; declaring an emergency; and establishing an immediate effective date; all by a 3/4 vote of the City Council. - PASSED MAY 15, 2020 
      • Notice of the requirements of this Chapter 14.09 shall be written on all applications for rental properties.
        • “The landlord is prohibited from taking an adverse action against a tenant based on eviction history occurring during or within six months after the end of the civil emergency proclaimed by Mayor Durkan on March 3, 2020, and that the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is the department that will enforce any violations of this ordinance.
      • Housing Providers cannot take adverse action against a prospective or existing tenant or occupant or a member of the tenant or occupant’s household based on any eviction history for six (6) months after the end of the Mayor’s Emergency Order unless its regarding action being taken by a tenant who was a threat to the health and safety of others.
      • The City "intends" that any eviction history during this six (6) month period after the end of the Mayor’s Emergency Order should be considered good cause for an order of limited dissemination unless eviction proceedings on the tenant were due to the tenant being a threat to the health and safety of others.
      • This bill would take effect immediately due to emergency.
    • CB 119788 - AN ORDINANCE relating to residential rental agreements; allowing residential tenants to pay rent in installments when the tenant is unable to timely pay rent; declaring an emergency; and establishing an immediate effective date; all by a 3/4 vote of the City Council. - PASSED MAY 15, 2020
      • The bill would require housing provider to allow tenants to pay rent owed in during, or within six months after, the Mayor's emergency proclamation on March 3, 2020, in installments as follows: 
        • The tenant will be allowed to pay one month or less of overdue rent in three consecutive equal, monthly installments.

        • The tenant will be allowed to pay over one month and up to two months of overdue rent in five consecutive, equal monthly installments.

        • The tenant will be allowed to pay over two months of overdue rent in six consecutive, equal monthly payments.

        • Any remainder will be due at the end of the payment period.

        • The tenant may propose an alternative payment schedule, which, if agreed to by the housing provider, shall be described in writing and signed by the tenant and housing and deemed an amendment to any existing rental agreement.

      • It can be a defense to an eviction if the notice does not contain the required information stating that the housing provider must provide the tenant a reasonable payment plan
      • Housing providers are prohibited from accruing late fees, interests, or "other charges", due to late payment of rent during, or within one year after the termination of, Mayor's emergency proclamation on March 3, 2020.
      • Attorney fees and court costs incurred by a housing provider from an eviction proceeding arising from this policy may not be awarded.  
      • This bill would take effect immediately due to emergency.

    Operational Resources

    • Consider alternative agreements for rent payments, or granting payment plans, should your renter be impacted by COVID-19 and need assistance with their housing costs. Be sure to put these arrangements in writing as renters are only responsible to pay unpaid rent if the landlord, property owner, or property manager can demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence to a court that the resident was offered, and refused or failed to comply with, a re-payment plan that was reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident.

      EXAMPLE: Ask tenants who will not be able to pay their April or May of 2020 rent on time to submit a written request for relief which includes a general description of their hardship or household situation.

      EXAMPLE: Allow tenants who cannot pay their full rent the opportunity to work on the property in exchange for partial rent credit.
    • The Governor’s emergency order in place, through 11:59pm on August 1, 2020, places a prohibition against assessing, or threatening to assess, late fees for the non-payment or late payment of rent or other charges where such non-payment or late payment occurred on or after February 29, 2020.

      EXAMPLE: Offer an installment payment plan to those who seek relief that allows tenants who will miss rent an opportunity to make up the amount over the next twelve months, with no fees or penalties.
    • Share the latest COVID-19 recommendations and updates provided by King County Public Health.
    • Remind your renters who are sick with cold or flu like symptoms to stay at home and
      consult their physician.
    • If your renter is sick, ask them to defer non-emergency work orders until they have
      recovered to ensure the health and safety of others, including maintenance staff and
      other renters, and to help limit the possible spread of sickness.
    • Maintenance requests involving conditions which threaten the health, safety, or welfare
      of the tenant and or unit should be handled carefully, with responding workers adhering to strict procedure to minimize exposure risks, including wearing gloves and masks.
    • When responding to a maintenance request at a unit where the tenant is sick or under quarantine, it is recommended that the tenant be asked to remain in an isolated part of the unit such as a bedroom or outdoor balcony to minimize the health risk posed to staff.
    • Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has suspended HQS Annual Inspections effective Friday, March 13, 2020 thru at least through Wednesday, April 30, 2020. SHA is reaching out directly to those who would have been scheduled for an inspection during this time to provide more information. If you have concerns that you feel need to be immediately addressed by an HQS Inspection, or if you have other concerns or questions, please contact HCVInspectionsdesk@seattlehousing.org.
    Showings
    • In-person showings are allowed in Counties which have moved in to Phase 2 or further rules.
    • Previews or showings must be by appointment, a total of no more than five people, in addition to the broker, are permitted at the property at any one time, and those people adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. Real estate brokers and their clients must wear cloth face coverings. No real estate open houses are permitted.
    • Property viewings, inspections, appraisals, and final walk-throughs must be arranged by appointment and are subject to the conditions above. Perform electronic showings and virtual tours using technology that can assist you during this time, along with follow-up phone calls to limit public contact and to keep filling vacancies. 
    • Assess risk based on your specific location for in-person showings and institute cleaning and disinfecting protocols in accordance with the CDC recommendations before, during and after an in-person showing.
    • Limit your contact with others and requiring documentation regarding COVID-19 before sending any staff for maintenance issues, etc. All staff that are able to work remotely should do so.

    Rent Payment / Deposits
    • Do not accept in-person payments, if at all possible; accept online rent payments.
    • Create payment plans and get any and all arrangements in writing.
    • Use technology to accept security deposits or have funds wired into a special account.
    • Keep with the enforcement of contracts as law allows.
    • Stay knowledgeable on updated eviction laws regarding COVID-19 (laws vary – consult your legal professional). 
    • If you have tenants who are voucher holders, please consult the HUD page for information about how COVID-19 is affecting HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.
    • Get informed about resources for rental owners who are affected by financial hardship due to COVID-19 as they become available.

    During Lease Period / Maintenance
    • Request (but DON’T require) that tenants let you know if anyone in their household has contracted the virus so that outside vendors or staff don’t enter the property to perform maintenance work or mid-lease and annual inspections. Note: remember privacy,
      respecting privacy and only sharing general information, not specifics.
    • Institute strict protective procedures for maintenance workers with requests involving
      threatening health and safety conditions and welfare of the tenant/home conditions.
    • Put off routine maintenance projects for future dates in single family homes if at all
      possible.
    • Increase maintenance and cleaning of common areas in buildings.

    Move-Out
    • Mandate cleaning procedures; at a minimum, be sure to follow CDC recommendations.
    • Mandate a “vacancy period” before anyone enters a unit/home.
    • Perform move-out inspections separate from tenants after an appropriate “vacancy period”.

    Violators of this order may be subject to criminal penalties pursuant to RCW 43.06.220(5). Further, if people fail to comply with the required social distancing and other protective measures while engaging in this phased reopening, I may be forced to reinstate the prohibitions established in earlier proclamations.

    Unless extended or amended, upon expiration or termination of this amendatory proclamation the provisions of Proclamation 20-25, et seq., will continue to be in effect until the state of emergency, issued on February 29, 2020, pursuant to Proclamation 20-05, is rescinded

    General Recommendations for Cleaning per the CDC

    Household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes. Regular, daily, cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch
    surfaces in household common areas – e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks – is a best, preventative measure to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. Other methods for preventing contraction include:

    • Washing hands frequently or use a 60% or greater alcohol-based hand sanitizer if unable to wash.
    • Cover coughs with a tissue and throw the tissue away.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
    • If you are sick, minimize contact with others.

    For more information about the CDC’s cleaning recommendations, please visit this link.

    How to Clean and Disinfect Surfaces
    • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be
      discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
      • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
        • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
          • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
          • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
        • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
      • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible
        contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
        • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
          If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
        • Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are
          suitable for porous surfaces.

    If you have additional questions, please direct them to public health authorities in your area to receive the most accurate and complete information about coronavirus:

    • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
    • Local Health Departments


    Free ONDEMAND Webinars


    Financial Resources for Housing Providers

    Disaster Assistance | Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance

    To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

    In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

    The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

    Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available to residents in declared disaster areas. To view the full list of disaster declarations, click here.

    The Paycheck Protection Program

    The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

    Small businesses and eligible non-profit organizations, Veterans organizations, and
    Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program
    size standards.

    Under this program:

    • Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
    • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
    • If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.

    View a summary of CARES Act SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) & Loan Forgiveness Program.

    The following information is based upon expert feedback provided to RHAWA by lenders but does not constitute formal or professional advice. RHAWA is not responsible for the accuracy of this information, and members are encouraged to seek out additional information from a trusted financial professional.

    While many mortgage lenders do not offer support or leniency for hardship in the case of rental property (non-owner occupied), there are other ways rental owners might free up cash to survive tough times.

    • Bridge Loans (hard money / private money loans): Short-term bridge loans provide a short-term loan using the rental(s) as collateral so that owners can cover costs, lost rents, improvements, etc. Loans are anywhere from 6 months up to a year, but rates are higher than conventional loans since they are short-term. Bridge loans are available for all rental types – single family, multi-family and large/commercial multi-family.
    • Long-term rental programs: Another option would be to refinance the property so that the owner to take cash out to cover expenses. Owners who can’t qualify conventionally or can’t wait the 30-day period may qualify for a cash-out refinance on a rental property. This option is usually only for 1-4 units and not commercial.
    • Retirement plan loans: Some employer-supported 401k plans allow taking out loans, typically at defined interest rates and a defined time for when it is required to be paid back. Unlike an early withdrawal which automatically faces penalties and taxes, you may not be charged any penalties or taxes because it’s a loan and not cashed out plan money. An additional option is those with qualifying retirement plans (Solo 401k) can take a personal loan up to 50% of the total value, or $50K maximum.

    RHAWA also recommends that rental owners facing financial hardship contact their
    mortgage lender about temporary mortgage relief and federal mortgage assistance to
    protect your credit, prevent foreclosure, and ensure your rental property remains available and on the market.

    The Washington State Department of Commerce Landlord Fund Programs also provide
    access to reimbursements for unpaid rent.

    Additional Resources

    Financial Resources for Renters

    Resources available to renters may be found here.


    RHAWA Operating Procedures

    • We have closed our office to in-person services until further notice.
    • Classes and events will be presented ONLINE-ONLY.
    • Due to high inquiry volumes, our resource staff may take up to 2 business days to respond to your inquiry. Emails are answered in the order they are received. RHAWA does not offer formal legal advice, nor have an attorney on staff. RHAWA attorney vendor members can be found here.

    Legal Disclaimer: The Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA) has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this webpage. However, the information is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind and is subject to change as new information becomes available. RHAWA does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this publication.

    No warranties, promises and / or representations of any kind, expressed or implied, are given as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided in this publication, nor to the suitability or otherwise of the information to your particular circumstances. Your specific circumstances may present additional information not considered when this webpage was created and personal consultation with an attorney is advised.


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