Covid-19 Resources

Please continue to scroll down further to view additional articles on Covid-19

This is a list of the cities in King County that have added additional requirements of landlords above and beyond what the state requires.

Our forms are based on State Law, but they may not be sufficient in certain areas and it is a landlord’s responsibility to make sure they are compliant with the ordinances of the local jurisdiction.

Provided below is a link to the chart with all of the counties and their ERPP certifications and orders:

RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS:

The Washington State Department of Commerce has created a list of all the rental assistance programs under ​Proclamation 21-09 and posted it here:

Eviction Resolution Pilot Program

​Helping Tenants and Landlords avoid Eviction Proceedings during COVID-19

Program Overview: Since February 2020, nearly one million people in Washington state lost their jobs or have had employment hours severely curtailed because of the COVID-19 emergency. This mass loss of income coupled with substantial barriers in accessing state and pandemic unemployment insurance has made it impossible for many families and individuals (tenants) to keep current in rental payments.

Recognizing the risk of mass evictions flowing from the COVID-19 emergency, federal, state, and local governments began enacting moratoria on evictions. These moratoria continue to operate, effectively denying landlords access to the only legal means of removing tenants for failure to pay all or part of their rents — the unlawful detainer process.

Components of the Eviction Resolution Program: Six counties have been chosen to participate in the pilot Eviction Resolution Program (ERP). Each ERP will operate in accordance with the enabling order from the Washington State Supreme Court, and a standing order of the local superior court.

These orders will require landlords to undertake efforts to engage tenants in pre-filing resolution efforts including direct negotiation, facilitated conciliation services, and, upon agreement of both parties, formal mediation provided by the participating Dispute Resolution Centers.

Dispute resolution centers (DRCs) are nonprofit public service organizations and were established by the Washington State Legislature in 1984 to provide avenues for the successful and informal resolution of disputes. (RCW 7.75)

The objective of the ERP is to:
  • Bring all parties to the table with the assistance of qualified and trained Eviction Resolution Specialists
  • Explore the amount of rent arrears, the current and prospective circumstances of the tenant, the availability of rent and other assistance to cure or partially cure the arrearage;
  • Discover a range of other terms that might resolve the matter in a way that allows the tenant to retain housing (and avoid the need for filing of an unlawful detainer action).
List of the Washington State Dispute Resolution Centers by County:

Inslee Announces New Economic Supports and Extension of Restrictions

Hello WLA Members:

For your general information, on Monday, December 8 Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference to give an update on the state’s response to the ongoing pandemic and discuss economic relief for individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. The governor was joined by Lisa Brown, Director, Washington Department of Commerce, and John Wiesman, Secretary of Health.

The Governor announced a three week extension to the current Washington State restrictions, which were to end on December 14, and have been extended until Monday, January 4. The Governor stated there is a possibility to “recalibrate but we don’t know enough yet about the pandemic’s course to be able to do that.” The extension comes due to the record high increase in cases and to not overwhelm the health care system (80% of ICU beds are full).

If the activity is not listed, it should follow its previous guidance. All K- 12/higher education, health care, and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. These restrictions do not apply to courts and judicial branch-related proceedings. The extended restrictions from November 15 would include:

  • Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID- 19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile.
  • Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household.
  • Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people.
  • Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
  • Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
  • Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting                arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
  • Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
  • Wedding and Funerals: Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
  • In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
  • Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
  • Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
  • Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
  • Personal service providers include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists,              nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
  • Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted. These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
  • Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.

The Governor also announced a new economic package where he pledged $50 million in additional state aid for businesses, as well as economic safeguards for workers impacted by the pandemic especially those hit hardest by these restrictions and he also vowed to provide unemployment benefits for some workers who may loose it if Congress does not act before the end of the year. This would be on top of the $135 million economic relief that he announced two weeks earlier.
 

Washington CARES Act spending so far includes:
  • $120 million for rental assistance
  • $69 million for food assistance
  • $15 million for energy bills
  • $164 million for child care
  • $510 million for local governments
For information on the Working Washington Business Grants see the following link.
If you would like to view the press conference, you can click on the following link.

See the below press release for further information.

Thanks, 
                                       
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Inslee announces new economic supports and extension of restrictions

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced additional economic supports for workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inslee also announced a three-week extension of the state’s current restrictions which will now be in place until January 4, 2021.

The three-week extension of statewide restrictions come as the state’s healthcare system nears dangerous occupancy levels. With the effects of Thanksgiving on infection and hospital numbers still unknown, the extension will grant the state’s medical system much needed time to increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity before it’s overwhelmed.

“What we do between now — when COVID activity is still at crisis levels — and the time when vaccines are widely available, is literally a matter of life and death,” Inslee said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Inslee was joined by Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown who announced an additional $50 million, doubling the number of Washington small businesses that will receive aid. Industries recently shut down, such as restaurants and fitness centers, as well as businesses that have been devastatingly impacted throughout the pandemic, like music and event venues, have been prioritized.

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.
Find more information on Working Washington Small Business grants here

Funds for Eviction Rent Assistance Program moving quickly

Commerce’s Eviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP), funded with federal CARES Act dollars, may prevent evictions by paying past due and current/future rent for people in distress due to COVID-19.

Rental assistance is provided through local housing providers in each community, not directly from Commerce. Please share the ERAP provider list with your network so community members who may be impacted know where to apply.
​ 
CLICK HERE FOR AN ERAP PROVIDER LIST BY COUNTY

STATEWIDE EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENSION - December 31st, 2020

Hello WLA Members:

For your further update the Governor held a press conference on Thursday, October 8 and indicated that he will be extending the eviction moratorium from October 15 to the end of the year December 31, 2020.  Today, Wednesday, October 14 the Governor signed the attached proclamation which extends the eviction moratorium, as well as, a separate proclamation that deals with energy, water and landline telephone companies, until 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2020

Proclamation 20-19.4 “Evictions and Related Housing Practices.”

  • Extending and Amending 20-05, 20-19, 20-19.1, and 20-19.2

 
Eviction Moratorium Extension

  • The states eviction moratorium is extended to December 31, 2020
  • Clarifies that among the existing permissible reasons for seeking to evict a tenant is a tenants behavior that can be imminent be hazardous to safety of others on the premises.
  • Requires that any 60-day notice to vacate if an owner intends to occupy or sell the premises must be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury.
  • Clarifies that the order is not intended to permit unauthorized or illegal occupants into a dwelling who are not listed on the lease to remain or hold over unless the landlord owner, or property manager has accepted partial or full payment of rent, including payment in the form of labor.
  • Governor says he will continue to work with stakeholders over the next 30 days to consider additional amendments to the moratorium to ensure that the moratorium’s protections for non-payment of rent apply narrowly to those impacted by the COVID-19.
  • Nothing in this order precludes a landlord, property owner, or property manager from engaging in customary and routine communications with residents of a dwelling or parcel of land occupied as a dwelling.  “Customary and routine” means communication practices that were in place prior to the issuance of Proclamation 20-19 on March 18, 2020, but only to the extent that those communications reasonably notify a resident of upcoming rent that is due; provide notice of community events, news, or updates; document a lease violation without threatening eviction; or are otherwise consistent with this order.  It is permissible for landlords, property owners and property managers to provide information to residents regarding financial resources, and to provide residents with information on how to engage with them in discussions regarding reasonable repayment plans as described in this order.
  • Manufactured Housing Communities under RCW 59.20 are allowed landlords to send advance notices of future rent increases in limited circumstances, as long as the notice clearly provides that the rent increase will not go into effect until after the moratorium expires.
Proclamation 20-23.11 - Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services
  • Amending and Extending Emergency Proclamations 20-05 AND 20-23, et seq.

 
Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services

  • Prohibits energy, water and landline telephone companies from disconnecting any residential customers services due to nonpayment on an active account.
  • Disconnecting service to any residential customers who requested assistance from the utility’s COVID-19 Customer Support Program.
  • Charging late payment or reconnection fees.

 
We will further provide you more information as there are additional updates.​

Thanks, 
                                                                                     
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

COVID-19 UPDATE: City of Olympia Update on Rental Housing Code

At the Olympia City Council Meeting, the City Council passed an Emergency Ordinance extending the Eviction Moratorium until July 2021
The Ordinance is modeled very closely after the Ordinance that was passed in King County. The reason for passing this ordinance is to:

  • Make Covid-19 an option for tenants to use as defense against an Unlawful Detainer Eviction.
  • Encourages Landlords and Tenants to come together to create a reasonable written payment plan if tenant is unable to pay rent due to Covid-19.

“To be assert this defense, the residential tenant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure to pay rent was due to the following circumstances occurring as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  1. The tenant’s illness;
  2. Loss or reduction of income;
  3. Loss of employment;
  4. Reduction in compensated hours of work;
  5. Business or office closure;
  6. A need to miss work to care for a family member or child, where that care is uncompensated; or
  7. Other similar loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “

The Council stated that this Ordinance will provide clarity for Landlords and Tenants alike as to what is permitted during the Covid-19 Pandemic in terms of Eviction, as the Governor’s Proclamations have been lacking that consistency.

The Council did discuss adding an amendment on October 13th, with language discussing late fees, penalties and interest if a tenant defaults on this agreed to reasonable written payment plan.

Please click here to read the Emergency Olympia Ordinance.

If you would like to watch the discussion and passing of the Ordinance, please follow this link and skip to around the 1 hour and 15 minute mark.

WLA Member Survey - Covid 19

We are collecting data on landlords in regards to Covid-19. Please see the link below to complete the survey.

Covid-19 Landlord Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QV5BCS6
 
TV News Interview - Eviction Ban Lawsuit & Moratorium

WLA President & Attorney, Rob Trickler, was interviewed by NTD news. Mr. Trickler discussed the Eviction Ban Lawsuit and how the eviction moratorium has negatively affected landlords and tenants. Due to the moratorium, landlords are unable to enforce the rules in the lease. As a result, many problem tenants are harassing the more vulnerable tenants. Landlords, unfortunately, can’t do anything to protect their tenants.
​Mr. Trickler talks more about this issue in the TV Interview.

​Provided below is a link to the video on YouTube. The video timestamp is 5:15.

A Word from WLA President & Attorney, Rob Trickler

By now, I hope, most of you are aware from my several zoom meetings, contacting me, media or own research, what the 4 allowed reasons to
terminate a tenancy are under the current emergency governor’s proclamation 20.19.3. If not I will refresh here in a moment but you
should all be aware that the Supreme Court of Washington just threw in another huge wrinkle. I should also touch base again on the
new CDC order in case you could not make the zoom meetings.

As to the first two reasons, you are allowed to terminate a month to month or a lease on its natural expiration date if the landlord is either selling the property or moving in themselves if you give at least 60 days’ notice in the way required by the Residential Landlord Tenant Act. The emergency proclamation specifically says it must be read in term of that act so nothing has vacated the requirement that the termination notice be effective only on the last day of the rental period or in other words the last day of the contract. Similarly, the method of notice must be the same as always including adding an additional day if posted and mailed. What has been added to the normal notice requirement along with the increase to 60 days is that it must be accompanied by an affidavit sworn under the penalty of perjury as to the specifics of the purpose for the termination. We have these forms.

Second two reasons are either serious (read that structural type) damages caused by the tenant or that tenant causing a serious and
immediate threat to the health and safety of another. The nuances of all this are too complicated for a written article but I can almost
guarantee that our landlord, and I am one, reach an opinion that damage is serious significantly earlier than the law. Additionally the
terms serious and immediate are issues of fact not issues of law and what that means in my opinion is that if you use this approach you
are almost certainly guaranteed to have to go to trial and will not be successful at a show cause hearing. That means additional
complications and risk that are not simply explained in an article. Both these methods also require the new affidavit and also are
subject to the same notice delivery requirements but if you use a 20 day termination thinking it does not rise to the level of a 3 day quit
notice then the Attorney General will attempt to shut you down or come after you arguing that you have undermined your own argument about the seriousness or immediateness requirement by giving that time.

Now that version of the order is set to expire 15 October 2020 but I am absolutely certain it will be extended as the governor has a
hand-picked task force loaded with what appear to be large donors to his campaign and a single big corporate landlord and tenant
advocates working on making recommendations for going forward. I would not expect landlord friendly results out of this task force if
I were you.

Next the CDC order does not, at present, apply to our situation in that it only prevents evictions based on non-payment of rent due to
a covid19 hardship. Our state currently has a stricter rule in place, so the CDC order does not prevent anything already prevented and
it does not prevent evictions for other reasons such as bad actors or the natural end of a lease or contract. The relevance of the CDC
order may change when the current governor’s proclamation is modified next so do not assume this evaluation to remain unchanged all the way to the end of the year when the CDC order is set to expire.

Finally, the Washington Supreme Court has just added a new wrinkle as of 9 September 2020. We can argue whether or not they have over stepped and taken on the legislative role themselves but absent some action on that front this order will be followed by the various superior courts of every county in the state. I will skip all the whereas language that sets the table and simply post the actual order language here:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
This Court recognizes the authority of superior courts in
Washington to implement an eviction resolution program for
litigants to participate in prior to the filing of an unlawful detainer
action in court, and to take all necessary steps to support such a
program, including but not limited to, entering local orders and
contracting with service providers.
DATED at Olympia, Washington this 9th day of September 2020.

So if I read this correctly what it means is that each Superior Court of every different county can impose a different process/program of its own creation that may be required before allowing the filing of an unlawful detainer. So, what this means to those people who have given a notice to terminate already is unknown and may likely be different from county to county. What that means for due process or the abuse of the same may be different from county to county. What the application of this may mean to the governor’s modification to the proclamation going forward, if any, remains unknown.

As I have said before the Washington Landlord Association is participating in a lawsuit to attempt to protect the rights of landlords. We have donated and continue to fundraise through legal defense fund and are also helping to find plaintiff ’s injured unjustly by an over broad and over reaching proclamation. If any of you are interested in being a plaintiff and having your story added to the suit you can provide that information here.

https://www.walandlord.org/have-your-voice-heard-by-the-governor.html

I want to emphasize that it is quite appropriate and helpful, to have your tenants who are being injured by other bad acting tenants join and participate. It is a stone cold fact that our good tenants are being damaged by this over broad and over reaching proclamation just as landlords are. It’s not just stories about income, retirement investments and savings being taken from landlords by this approach but tenants being victimized.
Stay tuned all! ◊

-Rob Trickler, WLA President & Attorney
425-303-8000 | reception@tricklerlaw.com 

​RENTER PROTECTION ORDINANCE AT CITY OF OLYMPIA'S LAND USE & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE AT 5 PM 9/17/20

The Olympia City Council Committee Land Use and Environment is considering a Renter Protection Ordinance at their Thursday 9/17/20 meeting  at 5 PM.  I thought you might want to know or at least be aware of the draft ordinance. 

Attached is the agenda and the draft ordinance in case it is of interest.  The agenda item is:  6.C. 6.C20-0696  Consideration of an Ordinance Adding a New Chapter to 5.82 to Title 5 of the Olympia Municipal Code regarding a Rental Housing Code.

Dear Members,

The Federal Government, through the Center for Disease Control (CDC), announced that effective September 4, 2020 it will adopt a temporary ban on Landlords taking action against residential Tenants for nonpayment of any charges. As a federal regulation, this applies in all states. Given the multitude of moratoria enacted in the wake of COVID-19 at the local, state, and federal levels, we refer to this most recent enactment as “the CDC Moratorium,” the requirements of which are outlined below.

DISCUSSION OF CDC MORATORIUM RULES

The CDC Moratorium prohibits Landlords from evicting any covered persons for nonpayment during the covered period. A covered person is a residential Tenant who provides their Landlord with a declaration made under penalty of perjury that states that:

  1. The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. The individual either:
    • expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return),
    • was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or
    • received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  5. Eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.

Once a Tenant has given the Landlord this declaration, they become a covered individual subject to the protections of the CDC Moratorium for the covered period, which is September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020 (unless extended). Once a Tenant triggers the protections of the CDC Moratorium, their Landlord is prohibited from taking any action to remove or cause the removal of that Tenant based upon nonpayment. Nonpayment could be for any debt incurred under the lease, such as nonpayment of rent, late fees, or other charges (including damages) owed to the Landlord as well as debts incurred to third parties, such as utilities in which the Tenant is the customer of record. The protection is drafted broadly and given the criminal and monetary liability (addressed below), should be interpreted to apply to issuance of any notices for nonpayment as well initiating or advancing any existing eviction cases for nonpayment. In addition, the CDC Moratorium does not directly address the issue of termination notices without stated cause; liability should be closely examined before issuing such notices and at a minimum should include a detailed non-monetary reason for its issuance if utilized.

The CDC Moratorium should not apply to anything other than unpaid charges as it explicitly does not apply to taking action related to a Tenant:

  1. engaging in criminal activity while on the premises;
  2. threatening the health or safety of other residents;
  3. damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property;
  4. violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or
  5. violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).

CDC MORATORIUM PENALTIES

The penalties for violating these prohibitions sets a new bar for liability that is orders of magnitude higher than anything seen before in the Landlord-Tenant context. Any person violating the CDC Moratorium may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both, or a fine of no more than $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law.

IMPLICATIONS FOR WASHINGTON STATE

Governor Inslee’s eviction moratorium, embodied in Proclamation 20-19.3, restricts nearly all lease enforcement actions until October 16, 2020. If these restrictions expire and are not replaced, then for purposes of WA state law, Landlords may commence issuing all notices and processing unlawful detainer actions except for those related to 14-day notices, which could not be processed until January 1, 2021 at the earliest.

CONCLUSION

The CDC Moratorium adds another layer of complexity to already challenging regulatory framework for anyone managing residential properties. Landlords are encouraged to adopt policies and safeguards to ensure that no prohibited action is taken if a Landlord receives a declaration or any other statement made under penalty of perjury that implicates an inability to pay rent or the protections of the CDC Moratorium.

This article is not intended as legal advice. Please obtain advice of an attorney for any policy change or decisions regarding residential and commercial Landlord-Tenant matters.

Funds For Eviction Rent Assistance Program UPDATE

Hello WLA Members:
 
Here is the latest regarding the Eviction Rent Assistance Program funded with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars which is available to many Washington Counties.  This rental assistance is provided through local housing providers in each community, not directly from Commerce.  This program is intended to prevent evictions by paying current/future rents and past due rent. The end date of the program is December 31, 2020.
 
Department of Commerce reports that funds are limited and not all counties have set up the rental assistance through they local housing providers as of yet.
 
See below for more information.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Funds for Eviction Rent Assistance Program moving quickly

​Commerce’s Eviction Rent Assistance program, funded with federal CARES Act dollars, may prevent evictions by paying past due and current/future rent for people in distress due to COVID-19.
Rental assistance is provided through local housing providers in each community, not directly from Commerce.
Over 20 counties have partners established to distribute funds and application periods currently open. Funds are limited.
Community members are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
Click here for a full list of currently open application periods.

Eviction Rent Assistance Program Update

Hello WLA Members:
 
Here is the latest regarding the Eviction Rent Assistance Program funded with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars which is available to many Washington Counties.
 
We continue to work with the Department of Commerce and the Governor on ideas for rental assistance. 
 
See below for more information.
 
Thanks, 
                                       
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Eviction Rent Assistance Program available to many Washington counties

Commerce’s Eviction Rent Assistance program, funded with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars, may prevent evictions by paying past due and current/future rent for people in distress. Rental assistance will be provided through local housing providers in each community, not directly from Commerce. The following counties have partners established to distribute funds and application periods currently open: 

Chelan/DouglasClallam, Clark, King, Pacific, Stevens/Ferry/LincolnKitsapKittitas,
 ThurstonWhatcom. & Pend Oreille County

Other counties will be announced as application periods open.

Check here for program opening dates and related webpages. 
The program will conclude on Dec. 31, 2020.

King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program
Department of Community and Human Services

Dear WLA Members:

Please see the below from the Washington State Department of Commerce announcing the King County details on its new rental assistance program for residents of King County.
 
Rental assistance is provided through local housing providers in each state community.
 
See here for more information on the King County rental assistance program.
 
Thanks, 
                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

​King County provides details on its new rent assistance program

The COVID-19 outbreak has reduced incomes for many Washingtonians, leaving them unable to pay their rent. The Eviction Rent Assistance Program is funded with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars and is intended to prevent evictions by paying past due and current/future rent for people needing relief.

A primary program goal is to target limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably.

Commerce does not provide this assistance directly to the public. Rental assistance is provided through local housing providers in each Washington state community.

King County has just announced its new rent assistance program.

More information is available here. 

Please note that this program is for residents of King County only.

Commerce will announce other rent assistance programs for other counties as information becomes available.

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Inslee Announces Rollbacks to Rules for Restaurants, Bars and More & Eviction Moratorium Extended

Hello WLA Members:

For your update, Governor Inslee held a press conferenceThursday, July 23 along with Secretary of Health John Wiesman to announce several rollbacks in the Governor’s “Safe Start” program to the rules for restaurants, bars, fitness centers, weddings, funerals, family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms, as well was, an extension on the eviction moratorium.

Due to the rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Governor and Secretary of Health are making changes to activities that provide a higher risk of exposure.  The Governor stated that in four months the cases in Washington State went from 2,000 to 50,000 and deaths increased from 110 to 1,500.  The changes include the following:

Restaurants and Bars – Takes Effect on July 30

  • Indoor dining limited to household members
  • Alcohol sales must end at 10:00 p.m.
  • Table size reduced to 5 people and total occupancy to 50% capacity in Phase 3
  • Game areas must close until Phase 4
  • Bars will close indoor service;
    • Bars were outlined as taverns, breweries, wineries and distilleries, regardless of their ability to provide food service.

 
Weddings and Funerals – Takes Effect on August 6

  • Receptions prohibited (ceremonies permitted)
  • Occupancy is limited to 20% capacity OR 30 people, whichever is less
    • Must be able to maintain 6 feet physical distance.

Gyms and Fitness Centers – Takes Effect on July 30

  • Phase 2:
    • Indoor fitness services limited to 5 people
  • Phase 3:
    • Total occupancy limited to 25 % capacity
  • The rules include gyms, fitness studios, indoor pools, ice rinks, volleyball courts and tennis facilities.

Entertainment Regulations – Takes Effect on July 30

  • Indoor family entertainment & recreation centers (mini golf, bowling alleys, & arcades) prohibited from opening
  • Indoor card rooms prohibited from opening
  • Indoor movie theater occupancy reduced from 50% to 25% in Phase 3

Face Coverings:

  • Expansion of face coverings order that will go into effect Saturday, July 25
  • Expansion will REQUIRE face coverings in common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment buildings, university housing and hotels, as well as congregate setting such as nursing homes.

Eviction Moratorium Extension:

  • The states eviction moratorium is extended to October 15, 2020.  More information will be provided in the next coming days.
  • The Governor’s Office staff is to convene an informal workgroup of landlords and tenants to discuss potential changes to the order in the short-term and long-term as the pandemic progresses.

We will keep you further updated as additional information becomes public.

To view the Governor’s press conference click here.

See below for more details.

Thanks, 
                                                                                     
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Inslee announces rollbacks to some activities to slow COVID-19 exposure

Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman today announced changes to “Safe Start,” Washington’s phased approach to reopening. The changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.
It has been four months since the governor announced the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Since then, cases in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500.
To combat the rising numbers, the governor and secretary are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.
“We do not take these steps lightly. We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line.”
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

STATEWIDE EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENSION - OCTOBER 15TH

The governor announced an extension to the statewide eviction moratorium until October 15th. He said his staff will work with a group of landlords and tenants to discuss potential changes to the moratorium and that specific details will be released soon. 

The order was set to expire August 1.

Inslee says with the extensions, he expects landlords and tenants to remain in communications. He also says the moratorium is meant to protect renters from falling into homelessness, but it does not give them the right to refuse to pay rent if they have the means to do so. 

Similarly, the governor says the proclamation does not allow landlords to harass or intimidate tenants. Criminal behavior and other threats to public safety are still a cause for eviction.

The governor says the Department of Commerce has released $100 million in CARES Act funds for rental assistance to help landlords and property owners keep their businesses running. This is in addition to the $300 million in CARES funds released to local governments to pay for an array of services which could include rental assistance.

The governor ended the press conference by saying, “I just ask people to remember to be good neighbors. We’re all staying home more, and may be for some time to come. If you’re up late because you’re anxious, please remember the folks next door are probably trying to sleep, and that they’re probably anxious as well. A little courtesy among neighbors goes a long way.”

Comment period: New Eviction Rent Assistance Program

The COVID-19 outbreak has reduced incomes for many Washingtonians, leaving them unable to pay their rent. The Department of Commerce is seeking comments on all aspects of a new short-term and limited Eviction Rent Assistance Program. This draft program is intended to prevent evictions by paying past due and future rent, targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably.

Please provide the Department of Commerce with your best thinking and critiques and send comments no later than noon on Monday, July 13 to jeff.spring@commerce.wa.gov

The Eviction Rent Assistance Program overview, award chart, client eligibility form and report form are located on their website: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/homelessness/

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03:
Face Coverings Statewide

Hello WLA Members:
 
For your further update, on Wednesday, June 24 John WiesmanSecretary, Department of Healthsinged Order 20-03 mandating that persons to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor settings when unable to physically distance from others.  This order goes into effect on Friday, June 26
 
Exemptions:

  • Those with certain medical conditions.
  • Children under the age of 5 but kids ages 2-4 are encouraged, ut not required to wear face coverings.
  • Deaf or hard or hearing, specifically when they are communicating with others.
  • It is recognized that times to remove masks even in public, such as eating in a restaurant or engaged in a recreational activity either alone or with members of household.

 
Please note that as of June 8 all Washington employees were required to wear a face covering, except when working alone in an office, vehicle or at a job site, or when the job has no in-person interaction.  Employers are responsible to provide these face coverings to their employees at no cost to them.
 
For more information on face coverings, please visit the DOH site here.
 
Also, please see the below information from the Washington State Department of Commerce on face coverings and the latest information for businesses and workers as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Breaking Down $1 Dollar of Rent

There exists a misconception that rental housing owners enjoy large margins and can continue operating in the absence of rent payments. With so much discussing around rent payments during COVID-19, the rental housing industry would like to explain the breakdown of $1 dollar of rent. 

When talking with your lawmakers, you can reference this important information to them!

Please see PDF document in the link below:

Breaking Down $1 Dollar of Rent – PDF LINK


​COVID-19 UPDATE:
Inslee Extends Eviction Moratorium To August 1, 2020

Hello WLA Members:
 
For your update, today, Tuesday, June 2 Governor Jay Inslee extended the eviction moratorium through proclamation 20-19.2.  This would extend the prior eviction moratorium for 60 days until Saturday, August 1.  It also make modifications to the previous moratorium which is outlined in his press release below.
 
Attached is the full “Evictions and Related Housing Practices Proclamation 20-19.2.”
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

​Inslee extends eviction moratorium

Gov. Jay Inslee extended protections for renters today as COVID-19 continues to impact the finances of Washingtonians statewide.
The governor first proclaimed a moratorium on evictions in mid-March, then extended and expanded the moratorium in mid-April. 
Proclamation 20-19.2 extends the prior eviction moratorium for 60 days (through August 1), and makes modifications to the prior moratorium.
​The modifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Prohibiting retaliation against any tenant who invokes rights or protections under the proclamation;
  • Permitting eviction based on property damage, except for damage that is not urgent in nature, including conditions that were known or knowable to the landlord prior to the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Establishing a defense to any lawsuit for tenants if a landlord fails to offer a reasonable repayment plan;
  • Establishing a minimum of a 14-day length of stay at a hotel, motel or at other non-traditional dwelling situations in order to trigger the application of this proclamation to those dwelling situations; and
  • Allowing owners to evict tenants if the owner plans to occupy or sell the property, after providing at least 60 days’ notice; and
  • Exempting commercial property rent increases that were executed in a rental agreement prior to the date the state of emergency was declared, on February 29.

​Other restrictions, including the prohibition on assessing late fees or other charges, are continued in this order.

The proclamation also encourages landlords and tenants to communicate in good faith with one another, and to work together on the timing and terms of payment and repayment solutions.
Read the full proclamation here.

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Property Manager Will Pay Tenants Nearly $300k in Washington State's First Coronavirus Eviction

Dear WLA Members:

​For your general information, please see the article below in the Seattle Times as it deals with JRK Residential Group based in Nevada paying tenants nearly $300,000 after a lawsuit filed by Bob Ferguson, Washington Attorney General, to enforce the moratorium on evictions for inability to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

​THE SEATTLE TIMES

By Christine Clarridge 
Seattle Times staff reporter
Updated May 29, 2020
 
A Nevada-based property-management company that issued eviction notices to tenants in Tacoma has agreed to pay nearly $350,000, including almost $300,000 directly to tenants in the form of refunds, payments and rent forgiveness, to resolve a lawsuit filed by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
 
It was the first lawsuit to enforce one of Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency proclamations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The governor on March 18 established a moratorium on evictions for the inability to pay rent. The proclamation specifically prohibits landlords from issuing notices to pay or vacate during the effective period of Inslee’s proclamation, according to a statement from Ferguson’s office.
 
Nevada-based JRK Residential Group — a real estate investment firm that manages property in 20 states, and whose portfolio represents about $6 billion of investment capital — violated the governor’s proclamation in April by issuing the notices to at least 14 tenants of The Boulders at Puget Sound, a multibuilding Tacoma apartment complex containing more than 700 units, according to the suit.
 
JRK said in a statement Thursday that it had taken steps after the pandemic began to “ease the resulting burdens” on its tenants. The company claimed it had “halted all eviction actions, waived late fees, reimbursed third-party ACH fees to make it easier for tenants to pay bills from home, began offering short-term lease renewals with more flexibility, froze lease renewal rent increases, and ensured our tenants could continue to access the essential services our team provides.”
 
“While JRK is proud of these steps, we recognize we could have done more,” the statement said. “To that end, we have worked with the State to further improve our policies and procedures and to offer our residents financial compensation to ease their burden during this time.”
 
Ferguson’s lawsuit, filed April 20, also asserted that JRK sent unfair, deceptive and harassing communications to more than 1,400 Washington state tenants. As part of a consent decree filed Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court, JRK will be required to forgive or pay back April rent for the 14 tenants of The Boulders at Puget Sound and pay $246,900 to 1,441 other tenants, among other measures.
 
The company also will be prohibited from issuing 14-day notices to pay or vacate beyond the expiration of the governor’s current proclamation, through at least July 31. In addition to the payments to tenants, JRK Residential will pay $50,000 in costs and attorney fees to the AG’s office.
 
“JRK Residential knew about the governor’s proclamation, and ignored it,” Ferguson said. “This large, sophisticated corporation knew the law, and still threatened to evict tenants. This resolution makes those tenants whole.”
 
Ferguson urged anyone who believes their property-management company or landlord is violating the eviction moratorium to file a complaint with his office.
 
“During this time of hardship and uncertainty, the moratorium on evictions is intended to help families and individuals keep a roof over their heads,” Inslee said in a news release from Ferguson’s office. “Any property owners who attempt to remove people from their homes and skirt this order are breaking the law. I thank AG Ferguson and his team for enforcing the eviction moratorium.”

COVID-19 UPDATE:
4-Phase Re-Opening Approach
Inslee Releases Additional Safe Start Phase 1 Guidance
Curbside Retail Sales & Landscaping
Hello WLA Members:
 
For your update, Friday, May 8, Governor Jay Inslee, in accordance to his “Safe Start” Plan, just issued additional guidance in Phase I of reopening the Washington State economy for:  curbside retail sales and landscaping, which are allowed to resume.
 
All businesses being reopened need to adhere to adequate social distancing measures and worker safety and health standards must be in place.
 
To watch Governor Inslee’s press conference click here.
 
Please see his press release below for additional information.
 
For updated information on the Washington State Coronavirus response click here.
 
We will keep you informed once additional information is made available.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062
 
 
COVID-19 UPDATE:
4-Phase Re-Opening Approach
Inslee Issues Guidance for Restarting Essential Workforce Development Programs

Hello WLA Members:
 
For your update, today, Thursday, May 7, Governor Jay Inslee, in accordance to his “Safe Start” Plan, just issued guidance in Phase I of reopening the Washington State economy for:  low-risk higher education and critical infrastructure workforce training work which are allowed to resume.
 
All businesses being reopened need to adhere to adequate social distancing measures and worker safety and health standards must be in place.
 
Please see his press release below for additional information.
 
For updated information on the Washington State Coronavirus response click here.
 
We will keep you informed once additional information is made available.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

COVID-19 UPDATE:
4-Phase Re-Opening Approach
Inslee Issues Guidance for Vehicle and Vessel Sales, and Drive-In Religious Services, in Phase 1 of Recovery & First Risk-Assessment Dashboard Update

Hello WLA Members:
 
For your update, on Wednesday, May 6, Governor Jay Inslee, in accordance to his “Safe Start” Plan, just issued guidance in Phase I of reopening the Washington State economy for:

 
All businesses being reopened need to adhere to adequate social distancing measures and worker safety and health standards must be in place.
 
He also released his First-Risk Assessment Dashboard Updatewhich will be updated each Wednesday.  This Dashboard will held to determine when and how to lift restrictions around the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. 
 
Please see his press releases below for additional information.
 
We will keep you informed once additional information is made available.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Governor Jay Inslee announced the expansion and extension of the original eviction moratorium order through Thursday, June 4th.

Evictions are prohibited for people in a variety of living situations, including those staying in transitional housing and for motor home owners renting in lots. The order also bans landlords or property owners from increasing rent on residential tenants, and on commercial tenants who have been impacted by the outbreak.

Rents are delayed but will still be owed to the landlord through a repayment plan.

His full proclamation can be found here.

Please see the below press releases for more information.

Thanks, 
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Inslee expands eviction moratorium and adds additional protections for residential and some commercial tenants

Gov. Jay Inslee expanded protections for renters today as COVID-19 continues to impact the finances of Washingtonians statewide.

“It is clear that as we deal with the challenges around COVID-19, the financial impacts on Washingtonians are significant,” Inslee said. “People have lost their livelihoods through no fault of their own and we must continue to take steps to ensure they don’t also lose the roofs over their heads. Continued support and protection for tenants is the right thing to do and I am extending and expanding the moratorium on evictions through the beginning of June, which will allow for two additional rent cycles.”

The governor first proclaimed a moratorium on evictions in mid-March. The original moratorium applied only to dwellings that are captured in the Landlord Tenant Act, and prevented a landlord from evicting or seeking an unlawful detainer order; prohibited landlords from serving any eviction order, or otherwise assisting in an evictions and provided exceptions for property damage, danger posed by a person to the safety/health of others or property.

Notably, the original order did not cover all living situations or every circumstance, nor did it cover commercial rentals and leases.

Inslee’s new proclamation extends and expands the original order through June 4th.

Just as in the original order, the new order prevents landlords from evicting in all situations that fall within the Landlord Tenant Act, and prohibits law enforcement from assisting in any evictions, but today’s proclamation also:

  • Prohibits residential evictions in other dwelling situations, including but not limited to: Lots/parcels (some motor home owners own the vehicle but lease the lot)
  • Transitional housing
  • Public lands – camping grounds
  • Prohibits enforcement of agreements to vacate.
  • Prohibits a landlord from requiring a non-paying tenant to move to a lesser unit, and prevents landlords from threatening to take action against tenants.
  • Prohibits landlords from assessing or threatening to assess late fees or other charges for non-payment.
  • Prohibits landlord from assessing (or threatening to assess) rent for housing/parcel where the tenants access or use was prevented as a result of COVID. Such as:Seasonal/college housing closed;
  • People who planned to move in but are prevented from doing so due to COVID-19;
  • People who were forced to leave due to COVID needs of their own or others.
  • Prohibits landlords from increasing rents or deposits for residential and commercial units. As it relates to commercial rental properties, this prohibition applies only if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by the COVID-19, whether personally impacted and is unable to work or whether the business itself was deemed non-essential or otherwise lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • This proclamation protects commercial tenants by prohibiting rent increases or threats of rent increases.
  • Prohibits landlords from treating unpaid rent and charges as an enforceable debt, unless the landlord demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence to a court that the resident was offered, and refused or failed to comply with, a reasonable repayment plan that was reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident.

Note: All rent payments delayed through this moratorium will still be owed but a landlord must offer a tenant a reasonable repayment plan to enforce any collection of that debt.

 
COVID-19 Employer Resources Series Webinar - FOCUS: Part 1: Employment Law & Employee Benefits

Hello WLA Members:

For your general information, below is a recap from the Association of Washington Business (AWB) Webinar on Monday, April 21 as it deals with Employment Law & Employee Benefits.

Selected questions from business owners and AWB members answered by:

  • Britenae Pierce (Chair of Ryan Swanson’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group),

Direct Phone: 206.654.2289
Email: pierce@ryanlaw.com

  • Laura Morse (Jensen Morse Baker PLLC),

Direct Phone:  206.682.1678
Cell: 206.660.5324
Email: laura.morse@jmblawyers.com

  • Christine Thelen (Lane Powell),

Direct Phone:  503.778.2139
Email: thelenc@lanepowell.com

  • Scott Michael (Legal Services Coordination Manager, WA Employment Security Department), and 

Direct Phone: (360) 902-9587

  • Allyson Drake (Senior Policy Advisor, Labor & Industries)

Direct Phone: (360) 902-5304
Email: allison.drake@Lni.wa.gov

Britenae Pierce – Available to help with legal aspects of COVID-19 including interpreting related Federal, State, and local laws, assisting with contracts and business issues, advising on layoffs, standby, telecommunications and related issues.

Christine Thelen – Quick overview of FFCRA related to paid sick leave (qualifying reasons for those unable to work or telework). Amount and use of paid sick leave is equivalent of two weeks and is in addition to other paid time off provided.

Scott Michael – If you apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance please show us your net income for your business and show us your tax documents from 2019 not 2018.  It will be a lot easier to set you up with your full amount.

What liability does a business have if an employee is infected at work?

  • Laura – We don’t yet know, but likely liability will be limited.
  • Britanae – Businesses do have a requirement to report if an employee does have COVID-19.

Is there a legal requirement to pay an employee who isn’t sick but is worried they will get sick with COVID-19?

  • Allison – It is not an authorized use of paid sick leave unless they have an underlying medical issue.
  • Christine – Under the Federal program it is similar also if they couldn’t work from home.

Am I allowed to terminate employees during the Governor’s Stay at home order?

  • Christine – Short answer is yes you can still lay off employees.

Can you apply in advance for the next stimulus package for businesses under 10 employees?

  • We don’t know the answer to that one yet.

Will the $600 a week under the CARES Act be added to everyone’s weekly payment even if that payment is higher than if they would have worked?

  • Scott – Yes

We are considered essential business but have a skeleton crew at work and are trying to get as many to work remotely. What obligations do we have to employees that we don’t have work for?

  • Christine – You can keep them on but just furlough them, which will allow them to keep benefits. They would also have access to unemployment. You could also lay them off.

Quick Polls conducted by AWB of business audience:

In the last month have you had employees utilize some form of sick leave due to COVID-19 related circumstances?

  • Yes 39% – No 45% – N/A 16%

Do you currently have employees using unemployment benefits due to COVID-19?

  • Yes 55% – No 37% – N/A 8%

​Link to full webinar can be found here: https://vimeo.com/associationwabusiness

Thanks,

Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

 
Landlord Mitigation Fund - A Financial Resource for Landlords

*A Message from WLA President & Attorney, Rob Trickler:

WLA continues to try to work with the Governor’s office to get some announcement from the
Governor related to informing tenants that if they can pay their rents then they must pay their rents! 
We also continue to work on some relief for missed rent payments. In the meantime, we recommend that every landlord go to the Department of Commerce website and complete the process of getting a vendor number which is required in order to use the Landlord Mitigation Fund. It is likely that this is the mechanism that will be used if any rent relief is provided.

Department of Commerce/Landlord Mitigation Fund – Website Link

Gov Inslee Announces Stay at Home Extension - May 4th

On Thursday, April 2, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he will be extending Washington State’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order through midnight, Monday, May 4.  The Washington Department of Health (DOH) reports 262 deaths across the state, with 6,585 cases total.  The DOH says 79,418 have been tested, and of those 8.3% are positive which is an increase from 7% last week.
 
Please see below press release below for more information.
 
To view Governor Inslee’s press conference with Health Secretary Dr. John Wiesman, State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy, and Vice Admiral Dr. Raquel Bono, click on the following link.
 
Thanks, 
                                                                            
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
chet@lobbywa.com
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062

Inslee extends 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' through May 4

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a month-long extension of his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order Thursday evening. The order, which banned all gatherings and temporarily shuttered non-essential businesses, will continue through May 4.

“Epidemiological modeling from the University of Washington predicts we will have at least 1,400 deaths this year,” Inslee said. “We are yet to see the full toll of this virus in our state and the modeling we’ve seen could be much worse if we don’t continue what we’re doing to slow the spread.”

Public gatherings remain banned and non-essential businesses may reopen May 5. If gatherings are held in violation of the order, individuals are encouraged to notify their local police department. Do not call 911.

The state Department of Commerce is providing guidance and assistance to businesses on whether they can be considered essential and other resources they may access to help during this time. Residents or workers concerned about non-essential businesses remaining open may file complaints at this link.

“We have taken dozens of steps under my emergency powers to help people in this time – including moratoriums on evictions, mortgage forbearance, utility ratepayer assistance, unemployment extensions, flexibility on tax payments and cash assistance to families,” Inslee said. “We will do more.”

Part of that effort is the sacrifice of business owners who had to shut down and of their workers who struggle to pay bills, Inslee said, and it is important for us to work toward coming out of this statewide shutdown. For example, the administration is engaging in productive conversations with industries to devise a safe way for them to get back to work when we can lift that part of the order.

More information on resources available to Washingtonians impacted financially by the COVID-19 outbreak can be found by clicking here and by visiting coronavirus.wa.gov.

In addition to the extension of “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” the governor signed a directive to the Department of Enterprise Services and the Emergency Management Division to secure personal protective equipment as expeditiously as possible.

Also Thursday, Inslee announced a delay in the implementation of new state building codes from July 1 to Nov. 1 to provide adequate time for training and outreach that was interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. These codes relate to construction and occupancy of residential and commercial structures throughout the state. Read that proclamation here.

Read all of the governor’s recent proclamations here.

Inslee provides construction guidance and signs proclamations for UI rules, healthcare payments
Inslee provides construction guidance and signs proclamations for UI rules, healthcare paymentsGov. Jay Inslee announced new measures to combat COVID-19 today and released additional guidance for construction in his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

The governor’s guidance on construction states:
“In general, commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.

“However, an exception to the order allows for construction in the following limited circumstances: 

a) Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;
b) To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or
c) To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.

“To that end, it is permissible for workers who are building, construction superintendents, tradesmen, or tradeswomen, or other trades including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, heavy equipment and crane operators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide applicators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC technicians, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other service providers to provide services consistent with this guidance.
“All construction activity must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding.”

The guidance memo can be found here.

Healthcare parity

The governor signed a proclamation today that provides payment parity between health care providers.
In order to serve more patients, Inslee has signed a measure that would increase the parity between those health care providers who deliver in-person care and those who do it through telemedicine. Telemedicine claims must now be reimbursed at the same level as care delivered face-to-face. Telemedicine claims cannot be denied by insurance carriers.

SB 5385, passed by the legislature would do the same thing, although its implementation date was not set until January 2021. The governor’s action will allow this to go into effect immediately to help increase access to care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rules for Unemployment Insurance

The governor also signed a proclamation today that waives work search requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance. With this action, the Washington State Employment Security Department can provide immediate assistance to those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
“We need to do whatever we can to help those who are financially impacted by COVID-19,” Inslee said. “It would be counterproductive to require people to search for work when we are asking them to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ to slow the spread of the virus. This is the right thing to do to get money in people’s pockets and waive this requirement for the short-term.”

 
Beneficial Resources During Coronavirus Pandemic
Please see new guidelines for landlords, tenants, mortgage, payments and other beneficial resources during coronavirus.

Financial Resources for Consumers
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for Washington consumers impacted by the Coronavirus. We will add to this list as more resources become available.

Trouble Paying Rent or Mortgage
If you don’t have enough money to pay, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Help includes:

​Paying Utilities
If you need help paying your utility bills, contact your service provider immediately.

For Businesses

  • Governor Inslee announced that up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state will also be able to waive penalties and late fees for certain late business tax payments, and a number of tax fees will be waived for both business owners and residents.
  • The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help with operating expenses.
  • The Washington State Department of Revenue can provide extensions on taxes or waive penalties.
  • For businesses in Seattle, the City of Seattle has delayed B&O taxes for small business and established a small business stabilization fund to provide grants of up to $10,000.

Additional Resources

 
Inslee and DFI announce assistance for homeowners unable to make mortgage payments!

Please see the below announcement from Governor Inslee on the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) offering immediate relief to homeowners unable to make mortgage payments due to COVID-19.

Those that are unable to make their mortgage payments are encouraged to contact DFI’s toll-free number, 877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or visit www.homeownership.wa.gov.
Thank you in advance.

Many thanks.                                                                            

Mark Gjurasic

Public Affairs of Washington, LLC
mgjurasic@comcast.net
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Inslee and DFI announce assistance for homeowners unable to make mortgage payments
Today, Gov. Jay Inslee and Charlie Clark, director of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) announced the state is taking steps to assist distressed Washington homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the finances of Washingtonians hard,” Inslee said. “We know this is across the board and we are exploring ways to help alleviate some of the pressure. At my request, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has a team dedicated to assisting homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19.”

DFI’s guidance to companies servicing mortgages in Washington state urges them to work with homeowners adversely impacted by COVID-19, including payment forbearance for those who need it. That guidance is posted on the department’s web site: www.dfi.wa.gov.

“In addition to recent federal relief available to struggling homeowners, our financial institutions have responded positively to DFI’s recent guidance requesting that they offer immediate relief,” Clark said. “It is now extremely important that homeowners having difficulty paying their mortgage as a result of COVID-19 know about the options available to them. DFI is committed to doing what we can to help struggling borrowers take advantage of the programs and resources that have become available. Helping consumers is what we do.”

In addition to today’s action, Inslee announced a moratorium on evictions on March 18, that includes:

  • Prohibition on residential landlords from serving a notice of unlawful detainer for default on payment of rent related to such property.
  • Prohibition on residential landlords from issuing a 20-day notice for unlawful detainer related to such property, unless the landlord attaches an affidavit attesting that the action is believed necessary to ensure the health and safety of the tenant or other individuals.
  • Prohibition on local law enforcement from serving or otherwise acting on eviction orders that are issued solely for default payment of rent related to such property.

Homeowners in distress may call DFI’s toll-free number, 877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or visit www.homeownership.wa.gov to get assistance on how best to contact their mortgage servicer and to learn more about their options.

 

 
 

 
What can Landlords Due if Someone in their Building Tested Positive for COVID-19?

You can notify your tenants that someone in the apartment building has tested positive for COVID-19. For privacy matters, please don’t say who the person is. We recommend reaching out to your tenants in all ways possible (mail, email, door notices, and posting notices near the entry ways). 

Remind them to stay 6-feet away from each other and wash their hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) and to clean their apartment units with disinfectants (Lysol, for example). If you have the resources to do so, sanitize the common areas of the apartment building and keep hand sanitizers near the entryways (mounted on the walls, if possible). You can also encourage them to self-quarantine.

If your tenants feel that they have symptoms relating to COVID-19, then encourage them to see a doctor right away. If you wish, you can list nearby hospitals in your area. Fever, Coughing and Difficulty Breathing are the most common symptoms.

If your tenants are facing hardships due to COVID-19, then they need to provide you with documentation stating as such. They can get this documentation from their employer. You can also waive all late fees and write up a payment plan for the rent. Make sure that you both sign and date it. You can use our blank one-page addendum on our website. This is located under Forms > Other Forms.