Washington State and the City of Portland are addressing questions about housing in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. On March 18, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-19 regarding Evictions.
In Clark County, as well as, the rest of Washington, Landlords are prohibited from evicting their tenants from now until April 17, 2020. In Washington State, the court procedure for an eviction is called an unlawful detainer action. Governor Inslee’s Proclamation concerns the following aspects of an unlawful detainer action:
- No 14-Day Late Payment Notices. Residential landlords are prohibited from serving a notice of unlawful detainer for default payment of rent related to such property under RCW 59.12.030(3).
- No No-Cause Termination Notices. Residential landlords are prohibited from issuing a 20-day notice for unlawful detainer related to such property under RCW 59.12.030(2), unless the landlord attaches an affidavit attesting that the action is believed necessary to ensure the health and safety of the tenant or other individuals.
- No Unlawful Detainer Actions/Evictions may be filed for nonpayment of rent. Residential landlords are prohibited from initiating judicial action seeking a writ of restitution involving a dwelling unit if the alleged basis for the writ is the failure of the tenant or tenants to timely pay rent. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, an action under Chapters 59.12 or RCW 59.18 RCW.
- Law Enforcement may not assist in the nonpayment of rent evictions. Local law enforcement is prohibited from serving or otherwise acting on eviction orders that are issued solely for default payment of rent related to such property. Nothing in this Proclamation is intended to prohibit local law enforcement from acting on orders of eviction issued for other reasons, including but not limited to waste, nuisance or commission of a crime on the premises.
Portland and Multnomah County
On March 17, Portland and Multnomah County issued a similar executive order. In Multnomah Count the following changes to evictions are as follows:
- No evictions based on wages lost due to COVID-19. Portland Tenants must document substantial income loss resulting from COVID-19 or by governmental restrictions to control the virus.
- Portland Tenants will still owe rent to the landlord and tenants have six months to repay back rent. Landlords may not evict on past-due payments due to COVID-19.
- Multnomah County Sheriff will not evict based on non-payment of rent.
While these measures soften the financial pain of the COVID-19 Pandemic for renters there are some important aspects to keep in mind. First, rent will continue to be due to the landlord. Second, Landlords still have the option available for removing a tenant in extreme circumstances. Lastly, it is unclear as to if governments are going to provide additional relief regarding housing.
Our team at Navigate Law Group is committed to sharing information about law and courts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have the resources and procedures to assist you with your legal matters while we all take preventative measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
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Every legal issue is very unique. Accordingly, the information in this blog is intended as general education material and not as legal advice. If you think you may have a legal issue, you should consult an attorney.