Washington State and Federal Rent Protection Red Tape Under scrutiny as evictions loom | Washington


(The Center Square) – Washington will be one of the last states in the country to see evictions for non-payment. When it does, its housing resources will be subjected to an unprecedented stress test.

With the federal moratorium on evictions expiring over the weekend, states have been left to fend for themselves to implement the most adopted housing measures in 2020 due to job losses due to the COVID pandemic -19.

Gov. Jay Inslee made it his priority last year to get as much tenant protection off the books as possible as quickly as possible. The effort attracted at least one class action against the governor, Washington and local municipalities like Seattle.

According to the Mortgage Banking Association, Washington is one of six states in the country that have active eviction protections in place for residential tenants. A year ago, this scenario was far from certain, but several extensions by Inslee has guaranteed that the evictions for non-payment will begin on September 30.

According to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, approximately 31,000 households in Washington did not pay rent the week of June 23.

The so-called “bridge” of Inslee proclamation comes with several conditions, especially for tenants who have “clearly taken steps to pay the rent”. Tenants who have applied for rental assistance between Sunday and September 30 are protected against eviction. Landlords are also prohibited from treating unpaid rents as a kind of “enforceable debt” without fulfilling one of the many eviction resolution programs with their tenants.

In the last session, the Washington Legislature approved a spending program of $ 658 million in federal money to expand the state’s rent assistance program. This does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars from past federal aid programs reaching homeowners.

More than 80,000 households are expected to receive assistance, according to projections by the State Department of Commerce. However, it remains to be seen how quickly this aid will reach local governments by September 30.

Housing advocates have criticized the management of housing assistance by the state and the federal government. They say he was needlessly buried in paperwork. Nationally, the total rental aid distributed by state governments was $ 1.5 billion in May, or about 3% of the $ 46 billion received to date, the Treasury Department reported. American in July.

“This country’s instinct to make sure that no one receives something undeserved hurts everyone in the process,” said Pierce County Council Chairman Derek Young.

Many Washingtonians face eviction this fall and could also face serious damage to their credit scores and hope to rent new housing. It can be even more difficult for people of color in Washington.

Based on an analysis of some five million US rental applications by apartment industry blog RENTCafé, the average credit score of US renters was 638 in 2020. Federal Reserve The data shows that one in five black Americans had a credit score of less than 620, compared to 1 in 19 whites. In Washington, 6.7% of blacks filed for unemployment between March and August 2020 compared to 3.1% of whites . Credit scores of 700 or higher are considered good or excellent.

A bill, SB 5010, was introduced this year by the Washington legislature prohibiting insurers from using credit scores to determine car, home or tenant insurance premiums. He failed in committee.

According to The data of the King County Bar Association, King County has seen some 4,500 evictions, most of which were for non-payment. Since the start of the pandemic, around 450 cases have been filed in the state’s most populous county, either for breach of lease or due to the landlord’s decision to sell or occupy the property.

Washingtonians can find several rental assistance programs here.

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