The ongoing saga of eviction moratoriums goes on. Here in Washington, much like the rest of the United States, landlords, tenants, and rental management companies alike find themselves in difficult situations. Many are simply scrambling to keep up with the rules as they change.
In Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Bridge Proclamation” earlier this summer, extending some protection to tenants. The announcement came just as the prior statewide eviction ban expired at the end of June, and the federal eviction ban was expected to do the same at the end of July.
But just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new “temporary” eviction moratorium of its own. As rental management companies adjust to this new order, here’s what it means for rental property owners.
Temporary Protection from Eviction
On August 3, the CDC announced a new order temporarily halting evictions in counties with “heightened levels of community transmission.” This order, which you can read in full here, essentially extends the prior moratorium on residential evictions until October 3.
But it does so with a few caveats. Landlords may now evict tenants for several reasons, including:
- Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises
- Threatening the health and safety of other residents
- Damaging property or threatening to damage property
- Violating health ordinances or building codes related to health and safety
Landlords may not, however, evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. Notably, the new order does not preclude landlords from charging or collecting fees, penalties or interest on late or unpaid rent. And because the order does not operate retroactively, any eviction that was completed before its issuance is not affected.
It’s also worth noting that this temporary order does not supersede local eviction moratoriums. In states, counties and cities where stricter eviction bans are in place, those local regulations take precedence.
Reasons for the new temporary moratorium
After the federal eviction moratorium that had been in place for over a year had expired, landlords and rental management companies might reasonably wonder, why put a new temporary moratorium in place now? The reason largely boils down to the unpredictable nature of the Delta Variant, which is rapidly spreading in the U.S.
In the CDC’s own words, this temporary moratorium is “intended to target specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions.” Of course, the next logical question is, which areas are those?
Which counties are protected?
Part of what makes the new temporary halt of evictions so challenging for landlords is that the places it affects are subject to change. As transmission rates rise and fall, every county in America may or may not be under the new rule from one day to the next.
At the time of publication, every county in Washington state has substantial to high rates of community transmission. That means, at least for now, evictions are effectively on hold throughout the entire state.
If you’d like to keep closer tabs on whether your home county is affected, the CDC provides an online portal with up-to-date data for every county and state in the U.S. It includes levels of community transmission, case numbers, vaccination rates and other stats; and you can access it here.
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We’re committed to providing all the latest information that landlords and property managers need in order to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to pandemic eviction rules.
Check in for future updates as they become available, and contact us to learn more about how a professional rental management company can help your rental business through the uncertain months ahead.