WBPA Challenging Governor’s Eviction Ban, Demand Small Housing Providers Be Compensated For Services
Today, the Washington Business Properties Association (WBPA) is taking another step forward with small housing providers who are challenging Governor Inslee’s unfair and unlawful statewide eviction moratorium in Lewis County State Superior Court. The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief of the ban, which for months has cost them their livelihoods.
To be clear: evicting tenants is a last resort for housing providers. That is not what this case is about. Rather, the WBPA is supporting the plaintiffs’ challenge to the statewide eviction moratorium on the following grounds:
No one group or individual alone can bear all of the costs and burden brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet that is what is being asked of small housing providers. The Governor’s order was hastily adopted and needlessly extended, giving a “free ride” to tenants who can pay but choose not to as well as to tenants engaging in criminal and nuisance behavior or causing property damage. Small housing providers are suffering greatly, so the WBPA has decided to take action.
Read the full court filing here.
Read the full article on the WBPA website: WBPA Challenging Governor’s Eviction Ban, Demand Small Housing Providers be Compensated for Services - Washington Business Properties Association (thewbpa.org)
From KXly.com Spokane: Washington landlords suing the state over eviction moratorium they fear may be extended - by Kyle Simchuk | KXLY reporter
SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee is facing another lawsuit over his ban on evictions.
The Washington Landlord Association is one of several plaintiffs on the complaint filed Tuesday. They say some landlords have not received a rent payment in eight months, forcing those property owners to make some tough decisions.
The governor’s eviction moratorium is supposed to end on December 31, however the WLA is almost certain it will be extended into the new year.
Washington Landlord Association President Rob Trickler says by skipping rent payments, some tenants are digging themselves into a hole they won’y be able to crawl out of. He fears many landlords will never be reimbursed.
“This order in our opinion has been unlawful since 30 days after it was issued,” said Trickler.
Trickler says landlords have largely been ignored throughout the eviction moratorium.
“Our membership is primarily the mom and pops,” said Trickler.
If tenants aren’t paying rent, landlords still have to pay their mortgage, property taxes, and make home repairs.
Trickler says he feels for people who have truly lost their jobs and income during the pandemic. However, he says some tenants have simply taken advantage of the law.
“I have members and clients that have tenants that are buying new automobiles and camping trailers in the like while not paying their rents, painfully employed,” said Trickler.
He fears the moratorium is a problem that’s ballooning.
“Obviously the longer this goes on and the higher those bills get the less likely the tenant is ever going to manage that and the landlord will never see any of that,” said Trickler.
According to Crosscut, 500,000 renters in Washington were using credit cards or short-term loans to meet their basic spending needs at the end of October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.
In total, 63,000 tenants were occupying their homes without paying rent.
The state of Washington has set aside funds to reimburse landlords for the lost rent. However, Trickler called it a complicated mess, saying the payment is often limited to 80% of three to four months and some landlords may be required to extend the lease through March. He says that’s not a good enough deal for landlords.
To read full article, please click on the link to be directed to the KXLY website: Washington landlords suing the state over eviction moratorium they fear may be extended - KXLY
WBPA Litigation Update: Governor Inslee Convening Workgroup To Address WBPA Concerns With Moratorium Order
Last month, the Washington Business Properties Association (WBPA) stood with three small housing providers in Yakima to overturn Governor Inslee’s unfair and unlawful statewide eviction moratorium by filing a federal suit in the Eastern District of Washington.
Thanks to the work of housing advocates, WBPA, and plaintiff's efforts, Governor Inslee and his staff have announced that they are convening further stakeholder meetings this week to address our concerns with the moratorium. Namely, the Governor has agreed to bring the WBPA to the table to discuss amendments to the order that would ensure the moratorium’s protections for non-payment of rent apply exclusively to renters who can verify that they are financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, click the link below:
Click Here to Read More
Lawsuit Gaining Traction in the Press!
We are excited to tell you that we have received some excellent press coverage since we filed the Lawsuit last week. As you may know, our lawsuit was featured as the Editor’s Choice story for the Puget Sound Business Journal over the weekend and again today in their Afternoon Edition Newsletter:
KIMA and The Lens have both interviewed WBPA President Kevin Wallace and Lawsuit Plaintiff Enrique Jevons. The NBC and ABC affiliates in Spokane carried stories this past weekend regarding WBPA challenging the Governor’s Eviction Moratorium.
For links to the articles and more, follow the link below:
Click Here to Read More
For Republicans to win a majority in the State House, it will be more important than ever that we maintain control of the seats we already have. To do that we will need the help and support of people like you.
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By now, I hope, most of you are aware from my several zoom meetings, contacting me, media or own research, what the 4 allowed reasons to terminate a tenancy are under the current emergency governor's proclamation 20.19.3. If not I will refresh here in a moment but you should all be aware that the Supreme Court of Washington just threw in another huge wrinkle. I should also touch base again on the new CDC order in case you could not make the zoom meetings.
As to the first two reasons, you are allowed to terminate a month to month or a lease on its natural expiration date if the landlord is either selling the property or moving in themselves if you give at least 60 days’ notice in the way required by the Residential Landlord Tenant Act. The emergency proclamation specifically says it must be read in term of that act so nothing has vacated the requirement that the termination notice be effective only on the last day of the rental period or in other words the last day of the contract. Similarly, the method of notice must be the same as always including adding an additional day if posted and mailed. What has been added to the normal notice requirement along with the increase to 60 days is that it must be accompanied by an affidavit sworn under the penalty of perjury as to the specifics of the purpose for the termination. We have these forms.
Second two reasons are either serious (read that structural type) damages caused by the tenant or that tenant causing a serious and immediate threat to the health and safety of another. The nuances of all this are too complicated for a written article but I can almost guarantee that our landlord, and I am one, reach an opinion that damage is serious significantly earlier than the law. Additionally the terms serious and immediate are issues of fact not issues of law and what that means in my opinion is that if you use this approach you are almost certainly guaranteed to have to go to trial and will not be successful at a show cause hearing. That means additional
complications and risk that are not simply explained in an article. Both these methods also require the new affidavit and also are subject to the same notice delivery requirements but if you use a 20 day termination thinking it does not rise to the level of a 3 day quit notice then the Attorney General will attempt to shut you down or come after you arguing that you have undermined your own argument about the seriousness or immediateness requirement by giving that time.
Now that version of the order is set to expire 15 October 2020 but I am absolutely certain it will be extended as the governor has a hand-picked task force loaded with what appear to be large donors to his campaign and a single big corporate landlord and tenant advocates working on making recommendations for going forward. I would not expect landlord friendly results out of this task force if I were you.
Next the CDC order does not, at present, apply to our situation in that it only prevents evictions based on non-payment of rent due to a covid19 hardship. Our state currently has a stricter rule in place, so the CDC order does not prevent anything already prevented and it does not prevent evictions for other reasons such as bad actors or the natural end of a lease or contract. The relevance of the CDC order may change when the current governor’s proclamation is modified next so do not assume this evaluation to remain unchanged all the way to the end of the year when the CDC order is set to expire.
Finally, the Washington Supreme Court has just added a new wrinkle as of 9 September 2020. We can argue whether or not they have over stepped and taken on the legislative role themselves but absent some action on that front this order will be followed by the various superior courts of every county in the state. I will skip all the whereas language that sets the table and simply post the actual order language here:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
This Court recognizes the authority of superior courts in
Washington to implement an eviction resolution program for
litigants to participate in prior to the filing of an unlawful detainer
action in court, and to take all necessary steps to support such a
program, including but not limited to, entering local orders and
contracting with service providers.
DATED at Olympia, Washington this 9th day of September 2020.
So if I read this correctly what it means is that each Superior Court of every different county can impose a different process/program of its own creation that may be required before allowing the filing of an unlawful detainer. So, what this means to those people who have given a notice to terminate already is unknown and may likely be different from county to county. What that means for due process or the abuse of the same may be different from county to county. What the application of this may mean to the governor’s modification to the proclamation going forward, if any, remains unknown.
As I have said before the Washington Landlord Association is participating in a lawsuit to attempt to protect the rights of landlords. We have donated and continue to fundraise through legal defense fund and are also helping to find plaintiff ’s injured unjustly by an over broad and over reaching proclamation. If any of you are interested in being a plaintiff and having your story added to the suit you can provide that information here.
I want to emphasize that it is quite appropriate and helpful, to have your tenants who are being injured by other bad acting tenants join and participate. It is a stone cold fact that our good tenants are being damaged by this over broad and over reaching proclamation just as landlords are. It’s not just stories about income, retirement investments and savings being taken from landlords by this approach but tenants being victimized.
Stay tuned all! ◊
-Rob Trickler, WLA President & Attorney
425-303-8000 | firstname.lastname@example.org
By the Rental Housing Journal
The rent payment tracker for June showed 92.2 percent of apartment households had paid some rent by June 20, according to a release from The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).
The NMHC found in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country that 92.2 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by June 20.
This is unchanged from the share who paid rent through June 20, 2019 and compares to 90.8 percent that had paid by May 20, 2020. These data encompass a wide variety of market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price, according to the release.
The NMHC Rent Payment Tracker metric can provide insight into changes in resident rent payment behavior over the course of each month, and, as the dataset ages, between months. While the tracker is intended to serve as an indicator of resident financial challenges, it is also intended to track the recovery as well, including the effectiveness of government stimulus and subsidies.
However, noteworthy technical issues may make historical comparisons imprecise.
For example, factors such as varying days of the week on which data are collected; individual companies’ differing payment collection policies; shelter-in-place orders’ effects on residents’ ability to deliver payments in person or by mail; the closure of leasing offices, which may delay operators’ payment processing; and other factors can affect how and when rent data is processed and recorded.
Total unit counts may change as units are leased or vacated and survey methodology is refined.
“With the support of expanded unemployment benefits, stimulus funds and significant efforts by apartment community owners and operators to help residents impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and resulting financial hardships, it seem most renters were once again able to meet their obligations,” Doug Bibby, NMHC President, said in the release.
“The early steps taken by lawmakers have proven critical to keeping many safely and securely housed. As we move forward and the economy begins to recover, it will be vitally important that lawmakers continue to support the nation’s renters and forestall even greater economic harm,” he said.
3 In 10 Americans Missed Housing Payments in June
Please see PDF Link Below:
Just Cause & Vacate Notice Letter - PDF
Hello WLA Members:
Please see the below announcement from Governor Inslee on the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) offering immediate relief to homeowners unable to make mortgage payments due to COVID-19.
Those that are unable to make their mortgage payments are encouraged to contact DFI’s toll-free number, 877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or visit www.homeownership.wa.gov.
Thank you in advance.
Public Affairs of Washington, LLC
Inslee and DFI announce assistance for homeowners
unable to make mortgage payments!
Today, Gov. Jay Inslee and Charlie Clark, director of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) announced the state is taking steps to assist distressed Washington homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the finances of Washingtonians hard," Inslee said. "We know this is across the board and we are exploring ways to help alleviate some of the pressure. At my request, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has a team dedicated to assisting homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19.”
DFI’s guidance to companies servicing mortgages in Washington state urges them to work with homeowners adversely impacted by COVID-19, including payment forbearance for those who need it. That guidance is posted on the department's web site: www.dfi.wa.gov.
“In addition to recent federal relief available to struggling homeowners, our financial institutions have responded positively to DFI’s recent guidance requesting that they offer immediate relief,” Clark said. “It is now extremely important that homeowners having difficulty paying their mortgage as a result of COVID-19 know about the options available to them. DFI is committed to doing what we can to help struggling borrowers take advantage of the programs and resources that have become available. Helping consumers is what we do."
In addition to today's action, Inslee announced a moratorium on evictions on March 18, that includes:
Homeowners in distress may call DFI’s toll-free number, 877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or visit www.homeownership.wa.gov to get assistance on how best to contact their mortgage servicer and to learn more about their options.