SPOKANE, Wash. – Governor Jay Inslee has extended the eviction moratorium in Washington State multiple times since the pandemic began. It is set to expire in June.
The move was meant to keep people off the streets during the days of COVID, but some local landlords fear it’s being abused.
“I have a renter who has not paid rent in many months,” said Patty Robins in a Help Me Hayley request. “I was told there are government programs to help me out. I am 91 years old and do not have any other income. Is there any kind of program to help out an old lady?”
Robins told KHQ she has tried to work with the tenant she alleges is not paying.
“I sent (the tenant) a note last month suggesting a payment plan,” she said.
Robins claims she’s sent a few letters and has not yet heard back. She says it’s stressful emotionally and financially.
"Being a landlord is certainly not something I would advise anyone to do right now,” she said. “ You don't make enough on it to go through the aggravation.”
Her frustrations are echoed by others in the business.
River City Management Owner Kathy Nichols says there simply isn't much Patty or any landlords in the same position can do.
“There is no remedy for her except for what's called change of use,” she said. “That would mean, right now it's a 60-day notice, meaning she or an immediate family member are moving into her home or she's going to sell it.”
Something that, at least right now with the eviction moratorium, is only applicable once a term lease is up or if the tenant is month to month...
Landlords are currently waiting for an update as there is an argument to expand that notice from 60 to 90 days.
“That's supposed to be decided Friday,” Nichols said.
The moratorium is set to expire next month as Governor Inslee works to finalize what's next.
“I think right now what he's doing is setting some restrictions to go along with lifting the moratorium,” she said. “He can't just lift it and say we'll go back to normal, because one, that would overwhelm the court system with evictions.”
Nichols says there is funding out there for those who are struggling and need rental assistance, but it's up to the tenant to try to get it. She says she is unaware of programs to help property owners but says it’s possible your mortgage company could offer some relief.
She adds that another issue connected to this is unpaid bills at properties. If tenants stop paying for things like water, sewer, garbage, it can result in a lien on the property.