COVID-19 and Eviction Moratoriums

Government at all levels have reacted to the COVID 19 crises with moratoriums on evictions. New moratoriums or amendments to existing have come almost daily recently. Here is a quick summary on the current status of eviction moratoriums.

Washington state.  

Governor Inslee has extended the residential eviction moratorium through August 1. Landlords may not serve initial notices, such as a notice to pay rent or vacate or a notice to terminate the tenancy.

Owners may serve a 60-day notice if the owner intends to personally occupy the rental as a primary residence or to sell the rental. The date of termination should be the last day of a rental period (typically calendar month). Owners also must comply with local laws, some of which require longer notice periods.

There are also narrow exceptions where a tenant poses an immediate risk to health and safety.  A resident’s exposure or contracting COVID-19 cannot be the basis for eviction.

Rent increases are prohibited for both residential. Commercial tenants are shielded from rent increases if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by COVID-19.

The state-wide moratorium expires June 4.

King County. 

The King County Superior Court has stayed all residential eviction cases (no matter the grounds) for 60 days. Landlords are prohibited from issuing termination notices to residential tenants unless due to the actions of the tenant constituting an imminent threat to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, or the tenant’s or landlord’s household members.

The King County Sheriff has announced they will not be serving or enforcing eviction court orders until further notice. This appears to apply to all types of cases whether residential, commercial, or post-foreclosure.

Seattle. 

Residential. The City of Seattle has placed a moratorium on all residential evictions. Landlords are prohibited from issuing termination notices.

Commercial. The City of Seattle has placed a moratorium on all evictions against small businesses and nonprofit organizations. A small business is defined as an independently owned business entity with fifty or fewer employees.  Landlords may not issue termination notices and are required to endeavor to enter into a payment plan, or other workout agreement to assist distressed small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Other local jurisdictions.

Other cities, counties, and sheriff department have enacted eviction moratoriums or other COVID related measures.

Federal eviction moratorium.

A federal eviction moratorium applies to properties financed with FHA loans, and to Section 8 tenants.

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