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COVID-19 Eviction Laws

Posted Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Kim Sandher

Alternative Text The City of Seattle issued an emergency order placing a moratorium on both residential and small business commercial evictions until May 3, 2020 (as modified by City Council). It requests the King County Sheriff not enforce writs of restitution and it creates a defense to eviction. It prohibits:

  • issuance of termination notices

  • charging late fees

  • initiation of unlawful detainer action in court

The King County Sheriff has issued a letter on March 17, 2020 that its office is suspending all eviction services until further notice - this appears to include residential and commercial.

On March 18, 2020, Governor Inslee issued a moratorium on non-payment evictions statewide under Proclamation 20-19 until April 17, 2020. It prohibits:

  • issuance of 14-day non-payment or rent notices

  • issuance of 20-day notice to terminate

  • initiation of unlawful detainer action in court for non-payment of rent

  • law enforcement from executing writs of restitution for non-payment of rent

On March 18, 2020, the Washington Supreme Court also issued an order requiring all eviction proceedings statewide to be rescheduled for after April 24, 2020.

King County Superior Court has stayed all residential eviction hearings, motions and trials until April 17, 2020. For the City of Seattle, all hearings on small business and non profit evictions are stayed until May 3, 2020. Courts are authorized to continue pending evictions to be heard after the moratorium

City of Seattle Small Business Evictions Moratorium

The City of Seattle defines a "small business" as any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity that is owned and operated independently from all other businesses, and that has fifty (50) or fewer employees per establishment or premises. The moratorium includes nonprofit corporations as well.

During the Seattle small business moratorium:

  • An owner of property cannot evict or terminate the lease or right to possession of any small business or nonprofit tenant.

  • An owner of property cannot charge the small business or nonprofit tenant late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment of rent.

  • An owner of property “shall endeavor to enter into a payment plan, or other workout agreement to assist a distressed small business or nonprofit in rent relief, including but not limited to the deferred payment of rent, discount to rent, or other strategies to address the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 civil emergency.”Alternative Text

This information is changing rapidly and may not be accurate at the time of your reading. If you have questions, please contact Kim Sandher at (206) 805-1490 or KSandher@PivotalLawGroup.com.