State of Washington COVID-19 Response

Temporary Moratorium

Governor Inslee made a proclamation (Proclamation 20-19.3) that temporarily places a moratorium on evictions, rental increases, and late fees. Read the full proclamation published by the Office of the Governor, which includes the full text, and a summary of this moratorium.  

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.

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

If you are a renter who is being threatened with eviction at this time, file this complaint form with the State Attorney General’s Office. 

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

We are adjusting some City operations due to the current COVID-19 surge, prioritizing essential services and the safety of employees and the public.