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Renters urged to get help now before eviction moratoriums expire

Pandemic-related eviction moratoriums are set to run out in Washington and several individual cities at the end of June, and many predict tens of thousands of people will be kicked out of their rentals.

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Olivia Mansker-Stoker, a tenant counselor with Seattle’s Solid Ground, tells KIRO Radio those at risk should document all communication with their landlord, then seek out free legal help and financial assistance available through many counties and private nonprofits. Renters should start seeking help as soon as possible.

“If you have a timeline like that, then you’ll have a better grasp of the order of events and it’ll be easier to communicate what exactly situation is to an attorney,” Mansker-Stoker said.

Solid Ground is hosting a free, tenants’ rights webinar on Thursday, June 3.

Celestine Berrysmith with Solid Ground says legal help is essential to mediate payment plans or eviction terms.

“Those things need to be done as quickly as possible, even now,” Berrysmith said.

Data cited from a U.S. Census survey between April 28 and May 10 indicates that roughly 82,500 people in the Greater Seattle area are currently behind on rent.

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King County has been accepting applications for its “Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program” since mid-May. In order to be eligible, tenants need to be leasing a residential property within King County, have a household income at or below 50% of the area’s median income, and be able to either prove “they are experiencing financial hardship” due to the pandemic, or that they are “at risk of experiencing homelessness.”

“Whether or not their landlord should be sending eviction notices — we’ve heard of people receiving those notices for a very long time now,” Mansker-Stoker said.

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