Council President M. Lorena González issued the following statement after Gov. Jay Inslee extended Washington state’s eviction moratorium through June 4, and added new protections for renters and the use of payment plans:
“The Governor’s orders are welcome relief for hundreds of thousands of families in Seattle and across the state who are financially strained due to the crisis and are worried about their ability to pay rent. The extension not only extends the eviction moratorium through June 4, but takes a more inclusive approach to protect tenants who may be non-traditional renters, such as those living in transitional housing.
“Keeping people housed is one of the most important things we can do as local government. I am thankful for the Mayor’s quick action back in March, enacting moratoriums on evictions. I also commend my Council colleagues for approving Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Tammy J. Morales’ legislation that froze rent increases for small businesses and nonprofits, and instituted payment plans for back rent for commercial tenants.
“As we continue to bend the curve and look toward recovery, it is my hope that two bills I have introduced will add tools for residential tenants in their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. These two bills seek to 1) expand defense for tenants after the civil emergency ends in eviction proceedings; and 2) provide some financial flexibility for tenants by setting up payment plans between renters and landlords and suspends late fees.
“I am glad to see the Governor has included payment plans as part of his moratorium. Payment plans can be the difference in whether or not people can stay in their homes, while providing landlords assurances that tenants plan to be current on their rent. Additionally, payment plans will help mitigate the burden and potential of a large lump sum of back rent due once the immediate crisis is over. My office and elected leaders statewide have heard from constituents – many who have lost their jobs and continue to wait for benefits and relief – that even after the immediate crisis is over, it will be months before they are able to financially catch up and this includes paying back rent.
“As we navigate the current crisis, the Governor’s extended and expanded moratorium, along with my bills, will provide stability for renters and landlords to face economic uncertainties post-crisis, together.”