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Gov. Inslee to extend eviction moratorium in short term

An apartment building in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. (MyNorthwest photo)

Washington state’s eviction moratorium expires on June 30, the same date the state is expected to fully reopen after more than a year of pandemic-related closures and phases.

Gov. Inslee’s office confirmed on Tuesday that the governor intends to provide a short-term bridge extension in an effort to give programs that the state Legislature has created time to get underway.

Inslee is expected to provide more details in a Thursday news conference.

Many landlord groups backed the eviction moratorium when it was initially ordered in March 2020 as the pandemic began, leading to shutdowns and widespread layoffs. That sentiment has changed over a year later.

“We believe, even with no new reform, that the governor has never had the authority to extend the moratorium longer than 30 days without going back to the Legislature for approval,” explained Chester Baldwin with the Washington Business Property Associations, a group that has challenged the order on behalf of property owners. “And you know how we know that? I worked on several other proclamations with the governor’s office, every other one of those, they’ve come back to the industry and had to deal with us and work with us on extending those proclamations because they had to come through the Legislature.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on June 18 that she is extending the city’s eviction moratorium until Sept. 30. On Monday, the Burien City Council announced that it would do the same. Kenmore and Kirkland have also extended eviction moratoriums.

According to Solid Ground — a Seattle-based group that provides resources and services to tenants in need — end the state’s eviction moratorium could have dire consequences.

“The Greater Seattle area is facing a tsunami of evictions that could send thousands of people into homelessness and strain the region’s social service network to a breaking point,” Solid Ground Supportive Services Manager Celestine Berrysmith said in a release.

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