SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing a Hayden property management company for violations of the eviction moratorium.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Spokane County Superior Court, claiming Whitewater Creek violated the Evictions Proclamation and Consumer Protection Act by threatening several residents of low-income housing complexes in Spokane County.
The eviction moratorium prohibits landlords from threatening to evict tenants for unpaid rents and specifies they have to enter into repayment plans with tenants.
Emails obtained by the AG office show Whitewater Creek personnel was threatening multiple residents with eviction due to unpaid rent and telling them they would be responsible for unspecified legal fees associated with eviction.
The AG office has received complaints from multiple Whitewater Creek tenants, alleging various violations of the Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamations including verbal threats of eviction for non-payment of rent or other fees. Many said they were told they would be evicted the day courts reopened for eviction proceedings.
“Washingtonians are struggling, yet Whitewater Creek illegally threatened tenants with evictions in the middle of a pandemic,” Ferguson said. “They violated the clear text of the Governor’s emergency proclamation. Their actions were cruel, unacceptable and illegal. They will be held accountable.”
Whitewater Creek is based in Hayden, Idaho and owns 1,00 low-income housing units across 12 housing complexes in eastern Washington.
The AG office had sent Whitewater Creek a letter in May requesting they notify all residents that the emergency proclamations prohibit threats of eviction.
"Instead of issuing such notices and providing copies to the Attorney General’s Office, as requested, Whitewater Creek consistently and falsely denied that it threatened to evict anyone, contrary to internal email communications confirming that it threatened residents with eviction at Prescott’s direction," the AG office said.
This is the second lawsuit AG Ferguson has filed regarding the enforcement of the eviction moratorium. Thousands of tenants and contacts have been contacted in regards to the eviction moratorium.
Washingtonians concerned about violations of the governor’s eviction moratorium can file a complaint online here.
Landlords who have questions about the eviction moratorium or their rights under the proclamation can contact the Attorney General’s Office here.