Recent Changes to WA State Law Regarding Notices to Vacate and Non-Renewal of Lease
In the 2021 legislative season, new laws were passed to help keep people housed. The biggest change to state law is that landlords must now have a “good” reason for making a tenant leave, or failing to renew a lease. There are different amounts of notice time that landlords must give depending on what that reason is.
Here are some of the most common scenarios. But note that these don’t apply to all tenants. Read the document linked above to see what rental situations do not qualify.
- A landlord is required to give a tenant 90 day notice if they decide to sell the rental.
- A landlord is required to give a tenant 120 day notice if they plan to demolish or renovate the rental.
- A landlord is required to give 90 day notice if they or their
immediate family needs to move into the rental unit.
Generally, a tenant is required to give 20 days notice that they intend to leave a rental.
Eviction Moratorium Information
The Washington State eviction moratorium ended on June 30, 2021 and the CDC moratorium is no longer in place. Governor Inslee issued a “bridge” proclamation to provide some statewide eviction protections until October 30st, 2021.
In Jefferson County, our Superior Court has adopted the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program, which is designed to help landlords and tenants resolve matters together, rather than engaging in official eviction proceedings through the court. Our court system is requiring that:
- Landlords give tenants official notice about local rent assistance, mediation and legal assistance resources. These resources are also listed below.
- Landlords make an effort to engage with tenants about rental repayment before filing the official eviction paperwork (unlawful detainer action) with the court.
Act now to prevent a future eviction:
Tenants, if you get an official notice like this, inviting you to participate the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program, you need to respond to your landlord within 14 days, indicating that “YES” you would like to negotiate a reasonable repayment plan and avoid eviction. If you do not respond, your landlord will be able to start the eviction process with the court system once the CDC moratorium and statewide eviction protections end.
What about the other updates to Landlord Tenant Laws?
Check out this new Interactive Summary of Landlord Tenant Laws, which covers the Bridge Proclamation and the new tenant protections created by HB1236 and SB5160
OlyCAP is administering federal and state rent assistance funds through the Treasury Rent Assistance Program (T-RAP). Landlords and tenants can visit OlyCAP’s Housing Services webpage to learn about the program qualifications, to find the required documents, and to apply for OlyCAPs rent assistance online. Rent assistance is meant to help everyone, no matter what your citizenship or immigration status. Applying for rent assistance will not harm any immigration application you file.
Dispute Resolution Centers
The Peninsula Dispute Resolution Center can help landlords and tenants negotiate and create reasonable repayment plans for unpaid rent. To learn more about the conflict coaching, conciliation and mediation services available through their center, watch the “Eviction Resolution Program – How It Works” video on the Resolution Washington website. The video is in both English and Spanish. Inquire about eviction resolution services at (360) 452-8024.
You can read the latest legal information on eviction prevention and link to legal resources on the Washington Law Help website. Visit the “Can my landlord evict me now” page for answers to frequently asked questions.
If your landlord is threatening to evict you, it is important to get legal help right away.
- You may qualify for free legal aid. Call the Eviction Defense Screening Line operated by the Northwest Justice Project at (855) 657-8387 or Apply Online.
- Or, contact Clallam-Jefferson Pro Bono Lawyers: (360) 504-2422
- Or, contact Northwest Justice Project’s Port Angeles branch: (360) 452-9137
- Or, use the Washington Law Help Eviction Defense Helper.
If you do not qualify for free legal aid and want to learn more about eviction, Washington Law Help publishes forms, packets, and checklists to help people navigate the legal process. Here are some helpful links to get started:
- Eviction Help in Jefferson County
- Eviction Portal
- Eviction and Your Defense
- Responding to an Eviction Lawsuit
- Frequently Asked Questions
Lastly, there are changes in Washington’s landlord tenant law that went into effect July 1, 2021. Eviction for any reason other than not payment of rent must now follow specific rules and notification periods. To learn more about the new statewide “just cause” protections, visit the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s Eviction Process Overview page.