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WA landlord unable to get rent or evict criminal tenant for nine months

A few weeks ago, Governor Inslee extended the Washington state eviction moratorium until March 31. Dori spoke with a landlord in Blaine who depends on income from rental property, and is suffering major financial issues as a result of the eviction ban.

“We own a small duplex in Blaine, Washington, which is part of our retirement income, and the other is Social Security,” she said. “And we had a really good tenant in one side, and she had a stroke and was moved out to be with her family. She left behind her son, who was not on the lease, and he paid rent for a couple of months. And then he figured out he didn’t have to pay rent anymore, so he stopped.”

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She says she soon got a call from Blaine police that tipped her off that he’s involved in criminal activity, but there was little she could do about it as a result of the moratorium.

“I got a call from the Blaine police that tipped me off that he was a felon and a criminal, and there was criminal activity going on, and they had him on their radar,” she said. “Yet I could not evict him. By the time we got to a judge, the eviction moratorium was in place, and the judge said, ‘Get a lawyer.’ No lawyer would talk to us.”

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“I called and got a copy of his list of crimes, and they told me none of them are currently harming anyone, so that’s not grounds for eviction,” she added.

She says her husband is ill in the hospital, and that Social Security and this duplex are her only sources of income. It’s been nine months since the rent has been paid, and she has lost approximately $9,000 to $10,000 as a result.

“It means that for a while there we were having a lot of trouble paying monthly bills, and we had to sign up for Meals on Wheels so we could have some food in the house,” she said. “And since then, my family has helped us out some, and we did get the stimulus payments, so that has helped.”

“But that’s not something that we can rely on full-time like the next nine months,” she added. “So, yeah, it’s been very difficult.”

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