Early in the pandemic, state and federal governments enacted moratoriums to prevent eviction of tenants for nonpayment of rent. People losing jobs, losing wage-earners, and losing childcare were falling behind on rent. The moratoriums meant that at least they wouldn’t lose their homes.
The moratorium ended in Thurston County on Oct. 31, and landlords can now pursue 14-day eviction notices. The conditions that necessitated the moratorium haven’t disappeared. But because of the pandemic, there are some resources that can help people stay in their homes even when they owe the landlord money.
The legislature passed an Eviction Resolution Pilot Program and along with federal and state resources, this is expected to bridge the transition from the moratorium to business as usual.
In Thurston and Mason Counties, the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) offers the following help under the Pilot Program. From the DRC website:
If you’re behind on rent, your landlord may serve you with a notice asking you to take part in the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program. If you receive a notice from your landlord, you must contact the DRC by the “Respond By” date at the top of the notice to participate in the program. If we do not hear from you by that date, we must issue a DRC Certificate that allows your landlord to file for eviction.
You will have to pay back any missed rent through a payment plan or rental assistance funds now that the eviction moratorium is over. Landlords are required to present a personalized, reasonable repayment plan for any rent missed up to 6 months after the end of the Covid-19 State of Emergency. Prepare for this conversation and consider how you can help your landlord understand your financial situation in order to make your payment plan work for you.
You can reach the Eviction Resolution Team at (360) 956-1155 ext. 113. To access legal resources and advice, contact Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services at (855) 657-8387.
If you have a tenant who is behind on rent, you can now submit an ERPP Resource Notice to your tenant and to the DRC. We can also offer you a DRC Certificate at the end of the resolution process. A DRC Certificate is required to file for eviction in court for nonpayment of rent.
You are required to present individualized and reasonable payment plans for your tenants to pay back any rent they missed up to six months after the end of the Covid-19 State of Emergency. Your flexibility can help preserve your relationships with your tenants, help your tenants continue to put food on the table and help keep people in their homes.
To get started, contact the Eviction Resolution Team at (360) 956-1155 or by email. To access affordable legal resources and advice, contact the WSBA Moderate Means Program at (855) 741-6930.