With Washington’s eviction moratorium extended until June 4, tenants who are struggling to pay rent have more time to make plans and seek rent assistance.
Several local organizations are paying rent for people who have lost their jobs or income during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is aiding some renters, many are concerned about what will happen once the moratorium is lifted. Tenants can be evicted after the moratorium for not paying rent that was due during the moratorium.
Elizabeth Fitzgearld with the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program expects to see an incredible influx of eviction filings after June 4. She advises tenants to tell their landlords in writing that they can’t pay rent and inquire about setting up payment plans.
Volunteer attorneys with her organization can look over payment plans and talk with tenants about other legal issues they’re facing during the moratorium. Landlords, for instance, cannot charge late fees or threaten to evict tenants. The Attorney General’s Office opened an eviction complaint form on April 1 for anyone who believes a landlord is violating the proclamation. As of April 20, more than 650 Washingtonians filed complaints.
Fitzgearld would like to see the governor’s office come out with guidance on how repayment plans should be structured and set a standard for what is a reasonable payment plan.