OLYMPIA, WA — The governor has officially extended the state's eviction moratorium through March 2021.
Just last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would be extending the eviction moratorium, which had been set to expire on Dec. 31. But it wasn't until the last minute that extension was finalized — on Thursday, just as the extension was set to expire, Inslee formally issued Proclamation 20-19.5, extending the state's eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021.
When the governor first announced the extension, he issued a statement explaining that many families across Washington are still relying on the moratorium to remain housed during the pandemic:
"COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on Washingtonians over the last nine months," Inslee said. "I know this moratorium has been critical for many families and individuals as they cope with the impacts of this virus. People need certainty about whether the moratorium will be extended, and it is important that I provide that certainty today while we work out the final details of the moratorium."
The eviction moratorium began in March 2020, and has been extended three times since. The moratorium bars landlords, property owners and property managers from serving evictions due to unpaid rent, unless there is "a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others created by the resident."
This latest extension also expands on state rental assistance programs, using recently-approved federal funding for rental assistance. Inslee's office says these programs will help landlords and property owners apply for assistance to recoup rent lost due to the moratorium.
"The goal is to continue to provide a path for eligible tenants to seek rental assistance, but to now also allow landlords, property owners, and property managers to initiate an application for rental assistance," reads the proclamation.
The moratorium commands landlords to offer rental re-payment plans that are "reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident." As for how those re-payment plans will work, Inslee says the state will more concrete guidance soon.
"I recognize that courts, tenants, landlords, property owners, and property managers may desire additional direction concerning the specific parameters for reasonable re-payment plans related to outstanding rent or fees. This is best addressed by legislation, and I invite the state Legislature to produce legislation as early as possible during their next session to address this issue. I stand ready to partner with our legislators as necessary and appropriate to ensure that the needed framework is passed into law."