April 17, 2020
Governor Inslee Extends Statewide Moratorium on Residential Evictions and Offers Protection to Commercial Lessees
On April 16, 2020, Governor Inslee extended the statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants.
On April 16, 2020, Governor Inslee extended the statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants. Notably, the Governor added a new restriction that applies to commercial rental properties: commercial landlords are prohibited from increasing (or threatening to increase) rent or the amount of deposit for commercial tenants that have been “materially impacted” by COVID-19. A “materially impacted” tenant could include: (1) a tenant that has been personally impacted and is unable to work; (2) a business that was not deemed “essential”; or (3) a business that was materially impacted by lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This prohibition on raising rents remains in effect until June 4, 2020, but could be extended further by the Governor. A copy of the Governor’s order is available here.
Local jurisdictions have placed additional restraints on commercial rental properties. For example, Mayor Durkan has put a moratorium on evictions in the City of Seattle of small businesses and nonprofits due to expiration of a lease term or nonpayment of rent. The moratorium applies through May 16, 2020 (or if earlier, when the emergency proclamation is lifted) and may be extended. In addition, the Seattle City Council recently enacted an ordinance requiring commercial landlords to enter into payment plans for overdue rent, prohibiting late fees and interest, and prohibiting rent increases. These restrictions apply to small business and nonprofit tenants. The ordinance is pending action by Mayor Durkan.