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Washington’s 2021 legislative session was among the most important for affordable housing and tenant protections in a generation. Thanks to the most progressive legislature we’ve ever had, a Governor who truly understands what it means to support everyone in our state, and thousands of advocates like you, enormous and consequential bills were passed this year.
Together, we accomplished great things: we became the first state in the country to guarantee legal representation for tenants in eviction court, we added numerous renter protections, and we banned unfair evictions without cause. We also increased funding across the board for rental assistance, ending homelessness, building affordable homes, and preventing foreclosures.
These efforts alone won’t fix housing affordability in Washington, but they are a critical step forward in the cause. Unfortunately, these new laws and funding streams do not take effect overnight - and with the impending eviction moratorium ending on June 30, renters need more time before these laws are a reality.
The legislature’s accomplishments this year will help - they will create an offramp to the COVID-19 eviction moratorium that will protect thousands of people from losing their homes. With rental assistance, eviction reform, requiring payment plans for back rent, and a guarantee of a lawyer, we finally have a path forward to keep renters in their homes. But not if renters are evicted before these protections are up and running.
If the moratorium ends before protections are in place, we will see mass evictions across Washington. This is not something any of us can accept.The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and our network of advocates are calling on Governor Inslee to only lift the moratorium on a county-by-county basis, and only when counties can show that:
- A significant amount of counties’ rental assistance dollars are reaching households in need and counties are able to keep pace with demand
- Guaranteed legal assistance for tenants in eviction court is staffed up and all tenants who qualify can be provided a lawyer
- The Eviction Resolution Pilot Program is in place and keeping pace with demand
Washington has been a leader in its COVID-19 response, including by preventing most evictions. We can’t change course now! Send a quick note to Governor Inslee here to let him know you support more time for renters to avoid mass evictions.
150 organizations and over 1,000 individuals signed on to a letter asking Governor Inslee to extend the moratorium. Download the sign on letter:
Read the Seattle Times story about our call to extend the moratorium: Advocates call on Gov. Inslee to extend Washington eviction ban again.