Washington Gov. Jay Inslee formally extended a statewide ban on most evictions Thursday, Dec. 31, making good on a promise he made last week.
Inslee’s order extends all existing provisions through March 31, 2021, and changes previous orders to provide additional support for landlords and property owners, according to a statement issued Thursday.
Included in Thursday’s extension is language allowing landlords to offer a “reasonable” repayment plan and allowing them to begin eviction proceedings if tenants refuse to sign one.
It also allows landlords to communicate with tenants in a “customary and routine” manner.
Further, it extends state rental assistance programs to include new federal funding that was approved recently in the U.S. Congress, the statement said.
“A temporary moratorium on evictions and related actions throughout Washington state at this time will help reduce economic hardship and related life, health, and safety risks to those members of our workforce impacted by layoffs and substantially reduced work hours or who are otherwise unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Inslee said in the proclamation that extends his emergency orders.
Inslee said state unemployment insurance claims are nearly double what they were a year ago.
Thursday’s order is the fifth extension of the ban on evictions since it was announced in March as the state ordered many businesses closed and other restrictive measures aimed at limiting the new coronavirus pandemic.
His most recent extension was set to expire Thursday, Dec. 31.
More than 181,000 households are behind on rent in Washington state, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Pulse Household Survey.
Those renters were facing eviction if Inslee hadn’t extended his order.
Olympia, Seattle and other cities have passed their own laws temporarily banning eviction for non-payment of rent, according to The Olympian newspaper.