State of Washington COVID-19 Response

Temporary Moratorium

Governor Inslee made a proclamation that temporarily places a moratorium on evictions, rental increases, and late fees. This moratorium is currently in place until October 15, 2020.  Click here to read the full text, and a summary of Proclamation 20-19.3.

Some important things to understand about the Governor’s moratorium:

  • This is a statewide proclamation – it applies to the whole state, including the City of Bellingham.
  • It prohibits evictions due to non-payment and notices to “pay or vacate”.
  • It prohibits increasing rents or rental deposits during the moratorium.
  • Prohibits landlords from assessing or threatening to assess late fees or other charges for non-payment.
  • It does not mean that tenants no longer owe rent, or do not have to pay rent. All delayed rent payments will still be owed but a landlord must offer a tenant a reasonable repayment plan to enforce any collection of that debt.
  • It does not mean that tenants who are violating other terms of their lease agreement (such as endangering the health and safety of the public or other tenants) cannot be evicted.

If you have any questions about the proclamation, please visit the Governor’s website:www.governor.wa.gov. Since this is a statewide ordinance, specific questions are best answered by the state.

Facing Eviction or need Legal Advice?

If you are a renter who is being threatened with eviction at this time, complaints can be filed with the State Attorney General’s Office.  The complaint form can be found here:https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/COVID19EvictionComplaintForm.aspx

If you are a renter who is in need of legal advice, contact Law Advocates of Whatcom County at 360-671-6079 or visit lawadvocates.org. All in-person legal clinics are cancelled at this time, but staff will still be able to help you by phone.

City of Bellingham response to COVID-19

Latest City closures, business resources, local, state, and national information.