Gov. Jay Inslee lets state eviction moratorium expire

OLYMPIA — After more than 18 months of pandemic-driven eviction limits, Gov. Jay Inslee said he will allow the latest version of the state’s eviction moratorium to expire Sunday.

That move will open the door for an influx of new eviction cases and test key tenant protections for the first time since the pandemic upended the legal process last year.

“We have to have some end to the moratorium. You can’t have an economy, ultimately, where just nobody pays rent,” Inslee said at a press conference this week, the Seattle Times reported.

Soon after the coronavirus hit, Inslee used his emergency powers to halt most evictions.

This fall, Inslee loosened the rules. He replaced the moratorium with a “bridge” proclamation that still stopped some evictions for nonpayment of rent in certain parts of the state but allowed evictions for other reasons.

The expiration of that policy Sunday will mean landlords can seek more evictions of tenants who fell behind on rent during the pandemic, provided owners go through newly required steps such as offering the tenant a payment plan.

Most evictions will still be halted in Seattle, Burien and Kenmore, where local lawmakers have passed their own eviction moratoriums to last through early 2022.

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