FILE – Jay Inslee Seal of Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

(The Center Square) – Gov. Jay Inslee has pegged June 30 as the new expiration date for Washington's eviction ban while tenants and landlords brace for years of looming repercussions.

Inslee shared the news on Thursday about two weeks before the moratorium's March 31 deadline, which also marks the end of the federal eviction moratorium.

Under Inslee's current eviction order, landlords may not evict tenants for any reason unless it concerns a criminal offense or if they intend to sell or occupy the property with proper notice. Landlords are also banned from charging interest or late fees and encouraged to negotiate payment plans with tenants who still owe rent on the books.

Cities like Seattle have also extended their local eviction bans through June 30 under similar conditions. The King County Bar Association reports the Seattle metro area and the surrounding region still saw 332 evictions in 2020. Half of those evictions were allegedly due to landlords wishing to sell the property while 44% concerned alleged lease violations. Another 12% allegedly involved "unauthorized occupants."

Washington is set to receive $454 million in housing relief as part of its share of the federal stimulus passed by Congress this month, but back rent in the state could total as much as $1.2 billion by some estimates.

While the state awaits more federal assistance, state lawmakers are debating a number of housing bills written to address the hardships of a post-COVID world, including a six-month ban on rent increases and tenant protections against discrimination. 

What role Washington will play in picking up the tab for landlords and tenants is up in the air as state lawmakers contend with billions more in revenue to play with this year based on this week's state budget forecast.

The Biden administration has yet to announce an extension to the federal moratorium.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.