Washington and Oregon are addressing questions about rental housing in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Both states have extended prior moratoriums on evictions. Under Proclamation 20-19.4, landlords in Washington are prohibited from evicting tenants until December 31, 2020. In Oregon, Landlords may not evict tenants without cause, not including nonpayment of rent, until December 31, 2020.
In Clark County, as well as, the rest of Washington, Landlords are not prohibited from evicting tenants from now until December 31, 2020. In Washington State, the court procedure for an eviction is call an Unlawful Detainer action. On October 14, 2020, Governor Inslee extended and modified his prior proclamations regarding evictions. There are the important changes for Landlords and Tenants:
- Landlords, property owners, and property managers are prohibited from serving, enforcing, or threatening to enforce any notice to tenants. This includes 14 Day Pay or Vacate, 10 Day Comply or Vacate, and Notices of termination. There are exceptions: landlords and property owners may give a 60-day notice to vacate if the property owner intends to sell the property or occupy the property as a personal residence. Additionally, a landlord or property owner may enforce lease conditions if action is necessary to respond to a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others create by the resident.
- Landlords, property owners, and property managers may not seek judicial eviction orders.
- Local Law Enforcement is prohibited from executing on eviction orders unless certain conditions are met. These conditions must be outlined in the findings of the court order issued to local law enforcement.
- Landlords may not charge late fees if nonpayment of rent occurred after February 29, 2020.
- Landlords may not assess or threaten to assess rent if a tenant’s access to their dwelling was prevented by the result of the effect of COVID-19
- Landlords are prohibited from treating unpaid rent as an enforceable debt that is owing and collectable and may not collect, attempt to collect, or threaten to collect if the non-payment occurred on or after the COVID-19 outbreak. Landlords may offer payment plans in good faith; failure to provide a payment plan is a defense available to the tenant in any action to collect unpaid rent.
- Landlords may not retaliate against tenants, including raising rent, attempting to raise rent, or threatening to raise rent for the dwelling. This prohibition applies to resident and commercial tenants.
If you are a tenant or a landlord, the team at Navigate Law Group is available to assist you. The changes above are a summary of the changes to the law; however, it is best to seek counsel for your particular situation.
If you are a Landlord with mortgage payments, it is strongly encouraged for you to seek deferment from your lender if your tenants are unable to pay rent. Further, there are situations in which you may evict a tenant. Again, it is strongly encouraged that you seek counsel before proceeding to make an arrangement with your tenants.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and the team at Navigate is committed to providing updates regarding changes in law responding to the crisis.
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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.