News and Events
Washington State Rent Changes
- Governor’s State of Emergency Proclamation, with all amendments, is extended until June 4, 2020
- Landlords are generally prohibited from evicting residential tenants during the Proclamation period
- Landlords generally cannot raise costs on any residential tenant, or commercial tenant materially impacted by COVID-19
On February 29, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-05, proclaiming a state of emergency in the State of Washington in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic (“Proclamation”). As the pandemic and its negative effects on the workforce continues, Governor Inslee has issued several amendments to the Proclamation designed to lessen the economic hardship of COVID-19 on Washingtonians. On March 18, 2020, foreseeing a potential issue for many in the hampered workforce to make rental payments during the pandemic, Governor Inslee issued Amendatory Proclamation 20-19, prohibiting residential evictions until April 17, 2020. On April 16, 2020, Governor Inslee made Amendatory Proclamation 20-19.1, expanding the prior version.
Summary of Amendatory Proclamation 20-19.1
(i) The Proclamation, together with all amendments, and Amendatory Proclamation 20-19 are extended until June 4, 2020.
(ii) Prohibition on Residential Evictions
- Landlords are prohibited from servicing, enforcing, or threatening to serve or enforce, any notice requiring a residential tenant to vacate, regardless of whether the lease has expired or will expire during the effective period of the Proclamation
- Landlords are prohibited from seeking, enforcing, or threatening to seek or enforce, judicial eviction orders or agreements to vacate residential tenants
- Local law enforcement is prohibited from serving, threatening to serve, or otherwise acting on eviction orders relating to residential tenants
*These prohibitions do not apply if the landlord attaches an affidavit, or a court makes a finding, that eviction is necessary because the tenant poses a significant and immediate risk to the health or safety of others.
(iii) Prohibition on Other Costs
- Landlords are prohibited from assessing, or threatening to assess, late fees for non-payment or late payment of rent or other charges against residential tenants that first occurred on or after February 29, 2020
- Landlords are prohibited from assessing, or threatening to assess, rent or other charges against a residential tenant during any period in which the tenant could not access or occupy the dwelling as a result of COVID-19
- Landlords are prohibited from increasing, or threating to increase, rent or the amount of any deposit of any residential tenant, or any commercial tenant materially impacted by COVID-19
- Note that this Amendatory Proclamation does not address whether prearranged contractual rent increases are also prohibited
- Landlords are prohibited from treating any unpaid rent or other charges from a residential tenant as an enforceable debt or obligation if the nonpayment was the result of COVID-19
- This includes attempts to collect, threats to collect, use of collection agency, filing of unlawful detainer, withholding security deposit, reporting to credit bureaus, and more
- However, this prohibition does not apply to landlords that provide evidence that the tenant refused or failed to comply with a reasonable re-payment plan
For more information, contact the HCMP attorneys who contributed to this article:
The information contained in this update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not business, legal, accounting, tax, financial, investment or other advice on any matter and may not be relied upon as such. Please contact your attorney to obtain advice regarding any particular legal matter.