On October 14, 2020, Governor Inslee of Washington State issued Proclamation 20- 19.4, extending the previous moratorium on evictions, late fees, rent increases and collection efforts until 11:59pm on December 31, 2020. Our guidance on the previous moratorium is attached for reference.
Proclamation 20-19.4 is virtually identical to the previous moratorium but for the following changes:
- Holdover occupants (persons not listed on the lease who remain or hold over after the tenant(s) of record have permanently vacated the premises) may now be evicted unless the landlord has accepted partial or full payment of rent, including payment in form of labor, from the holdover occupant, or has formally or informally acknowledged the existence of a landlord-tenant relationship with the holdover occupant.
- Affidavits must be attached to any notice permitted under the moratorium relating to circumstances involving “a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety or property of others created by the resident.” The health and safety risk standard was clarified to include, “any behavior by a resident which is imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises” (emphasis added).
- Landlords issuing a 60 day notice to tenants regarding their intent to sell or personally occupy the premises must be in the form of an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury.
- Advance notice of rent increases specified by the terms of the lease (meaning executed leases containing specific language spelling out the terms for future rent increases) that provide for a rent increase going into effect after the end of the moratorium are exempt from the moratorium ban on notices of rent increase. But, any notice regarding an allowable rent increase must only address the rent increase language in the lease. Such notices of a rent increase may not take effect until after the expiration of Proclamation 20-19.4 (or any extensions of it). Furthermore, such notices must not include any threatening or coercive language and cannot be used to threaten eviction or describe any unpaid rent or other charges.
- Landlords and tenants may continue to engage in “customary and routine communications” such as:
- Notifying tenants regarding upcoming rent that is due;
- Providing information to residents regarding financial resources or
- information on how to engage in discussions regarding reasonable repayment plans;
- Notices of community events, news or updates;
- Documentation of lease violations without threat of eviction; or
- Otherwise consistent with the Proclamation.
Please note that these changes are in addition to the restrictions of the prior proclamation, and as such review of the below guidance is recommended.
This article is not intended as legal advice. Please obtain advice of an attorney for any policy change or decisions regarding residential and commercial Landlord-Tenant matters.