Press Release: City of Kenmore Extends the Temporary Moratorium on Residential Tenant Evictions and Adopts Additional Residential Tenant Protections Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         
June 18, 2021                                                                  

City of Kenmore Communications

City of Kenmore extends temporary moratorium on residential tenant evictions and adopts additional residential tenant protections due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Kenmore, WA - On June 14th, the Kenmore City Council adopted Ordinance 21-0525, which went into immediate effect. Adoption of Ordinance 21-0525 extends the City’s temporary moratorium on residential tenant evictions through September 30, 2021. The extension of the moratorium provides sufficient time to put procedures in place to implement state and local legislation on tenant protections and gives time for tenants and landlords to access available funding assistance, for example through the King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program.

The King County Bar Association estimates that 48,000 King County households are behind on rent and are at risk for eviction once the Governor’s temporary moratorium on residential tenant evictions ends June 30, 2021. The economic impacts of Covid-19 have increased the risk of residential tenant evictions due to loss of income, loss of employment and reduced work hours and the inability to pay for basic household expenses including rent. Economic hardship has disproportionately affected low- and moderate-income workers and communities of color.

“We know these are very trying and frightening times for many who have been impacted by the pandemic," said Kenmore Mayor David Baker. "We must find ways to support those struggling in our community and these measures will help provide a bridge to better times ahead.”

Ordinance 21-0525 also includes the following tenant protections related to the Covid-19 pandemic: 
1. Creates a defense to eviction for rental debt accrued due to pandemic hardship;
2. Creates a defense to eviction if a tenant has a rental application in process;
3. Bans late fees for rent that became due during the pandemic;
4. Requires landlords to certify that they have attempted to obtain rental assistance before filing for eviction due to unpaid rent accrued during the pandemic.

Recent state legislation passed in 2021 also includes residential tenant protections. E2SSB 5160 included several residential tenant protections related to the Covid-19 pandemic such as:
1. Requiring landlords to offer tenants a reasonable payment plan for unpaid rent accrued during the pandemic between March 1, 2020 and 6 months after the expiration of the Governor’s temporary eviction moratorium;
2. A landlord may not impose late fees for a tenant’s non-payment of rent between March 1, 2020 and six months after the end of the Governor’s eviction moratorium;
3. Creation of a new Eviction Resolution Pilot program; and
4. legal representation of indigent tenants.

ESHB1236 requires landlords to provide a reason to tenants when asking them to leave, which should reduce issues around arbitrary evictions.

Link to Ordinance 21-0525 (including the proclamation)