A sign directs motorists to a COVID-19 testing site, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in Tukwila, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Inslee extends eviction ‘bridge’

Protections to remain in place until Oct. 31

By Rachel La Corte

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday the state’s eviction protections will remain in place through the end of October because counties aren’t getting federal and state COVID-19 relief funds intended for rental assistance out fast enough ahead of the current moratorium that was set to expire Sept. 30.

Under an eviction moratorium “bridge” that Inslee announced in June, landlords were prevented from evicting tenants for any past-due rent owed from Feb. 29, 2020, through July 31, 2021.

Since Aug. 1, renters have been expected to pay full rent unless they negotiate a lesser amount with their landlord or are actively seeking rental assistance.

Tenants must also be provided in writing what services and support are available to them and landlords must offer them a reasonable repayment plan before starting the eviction process.

Those protections will now remain in place until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31.

As before, evictions are still allowed in cases where the landlord intends to sell or move into the property, or if an affidavit declares there are health and safety issues to the property created by the occupant.

Inslee’s announcement comes days after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said her city eviction moratorium will remain in place through Jan. 15, 2022, rather than expiring at the end of September.

According to the Census Pulse Survey for the weeks of Sept. 1-13, approximately 57,000 households statewide are currently not paying rent, and more than 147,000 have “no confidence” they could pay next month’s rent.

The Census survey found that more than 49,000 respondents said it was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” they would have to leave their home due to eviction in the next two months.

Earlier this week, several Democratic members of Congress introduced a bill that would reimpose a nationwide eviction moratorium.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority at the end of August allowed evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a new temporary ban that was put in place earlier that month because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

There have been more than 563,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases — plus more than 69,000 “probable” cases — in Washington state, and 7,373 deaths.

As of this week, nearly 76 percent of people age 12 and older have initiated vaccination and about 69 percent are fully vaccinated statewide.

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