MEMO (electronic message)
To: Governor Jay Inslee
Cc: David Postman, Rashelle Davis, Alejandro Sanchez, Lisa Brown
From: COVID-19 Latinx Community Response Steering Committee and organizations listed below
Date: April 8, 2020
Re: Request to Address Gaps in Proclamation 20-19 and Suspension of Rent, Lease, Mortgage during COVID-19 Pandemic
On March 18, 2020, in response to the state of emergency caused by COVID-19, you issued Proclamation 20-19, which provides protections for residential tenants in Washington from eviction for nonpayment of rent until April 17, 2020. We understand the proclamation was intended to protect a population who will be impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19 and to reduce the number of people who may become homeless as a result of being evicted. The moratorium on evictions allows tenants to remain in their home so proper social distancing has a chance of being carried out.
However, Proclamation 20-19 has left out significant subsections of the renter population who also need eviction protection. We don’t believe an eviction proclamation is enough to protect Washingtonians from being evicted, becoming homeless, and meeting the goals of health and safety policies. A full freeze or suspension on rent, leases, and mortgage is needed to protect Washingtonians during the economic fallout as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, we are asking for the following:
1) Mobile home tenants. Protect from eviction the mobile home tenants. It is essential that mobile home tenants and tenancies governed by the Manufactured-Mobile Home Landlord Tenant Act have the same protections from eviction that non-mobile home tenants have for the duration of this public health crisis.
2) Term leases which terminate. Protect from eviction tenants who have term leases which terminate during this health crisis and not subject them to an unlawful detainer where the basis is holdover after an expired lease term.
3) Circumvention by Landlords and others. Enforcement against strategies being used to circumvent the moratorium in order to get tenants evicted absent a health or safety threat to persons or property.
4) RV Parks. Increase RV park lease term limits across the state and prohibit eviction from the RV park without a showing of an imminent health or safety threat to persons or property.
5) Extend moratorium at least 90 days. Extend the eviction moratorium to at least 90 days given the crisis that all Washingtonians are facing due to COVID-19.
6) Suspend rent, leases and mortgage payments for residential and small business tenants. Suspend rent payments for all residential tenants, including small business commercial tenants and mortgage payments for ninety days in response to the outbreak of covid-19. Source on draft bill to model after: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s8125
7) Repayment plans with extended time frames and sliding scale. Put into place a repayment plan with requirements to ease the transition when the moratorium ends. A plan with an extended time frame for repayment on a sliding scale, up to 1 year, and a prohibition against late fees so tenants have a realistic chance of repaying and are not penalized for effects of COVID-19.
8) Rental and mortgage assistance. Establish a state wide rental relief plan that would provide immediate aid to Washington residents, regardless of status, struggling to pay their rent after Proclamation 20-19 is lifted.
Many Washingtonian workers have been laid-off or are not receiving pay as a result of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Washington state counties have seen a dramatic increase in applications for unemployment benefits (1000+% increase!). Our concern is thousands of Washingtonians could face eviction once the eviction moratorium is lifted, triggering mass displacement and fueling Washington’s homelessness crisis. Thousands of recently unemployed Washingtonians are worried about how long they’ll be able to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads during this uncertain time. Residential and commercial tenants who have lost income due to the outbreak of COVID-19 should not have to pay rent during this crisis.
In addition to taking proactive measures to protect families and communities during this pandemic from evictions, we urge the state to financially support all Washingtonian residents regardless of immigration status through a state administered rental/mortgage assistance program. It will take some time for people to find a job in order to keep their housing.
The eviction proclamation only prolongs the inevitable and still leaves renters vulnerable. Suspending rent payments for all residential tenants, including small business commercial tenants and mortgage payments in response to the outbreak of covid-19 is the right thing to do for all residents of Washington state.
Organizations that have signed on to this memo:
Asian Counseling and Referral Service – Michael Byun, Executive Director
Catholic Community Services of Western Washington – Michael Reichart, President and CEO
Centro Integral Educativo Latino de Olympia (CIELO) – Patricia Hart, Executive Director
Centro Latino – Dr. Bernal Baca, Executive Director
Clark County Latino Youth Conference – Diana Avalos-Leos, Executive Director
Equal Rights Washington – Monisha Harrell, Board Chair
Got Green – Jill Mangaliman, Executive Director
Latino Civic Alliance – Nina Martinez, Board Chair
Latino Community Fund – Lilliane Ballesteros, Executive Director
Legacy of Equality, Leadership, and Organizing (LELO) – Ricardo Ortega, Executive Director
Puget Sound Sage – Abigail “Ab” Juaner, Equitable Development Manager
Seattle Works – Cassie Whitebread, Program Coordinator
Spark Northwest – Andrea Axel, Executive Director
Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network – Monserrat Padilla, Co-Director
Washington State League of United Latin American Citizens (WA LULAC) – Diana Perez, State Director
Moratoria de desalojo por la Proclamación del Gobernador 20-19