File photo

File photo

Governor gives tenants protections, reduces help for landlords

Landlord help is included in another bill, Inslee says; eviction moratorium to end June 30.

By Sydney Brown

WNPA News Service

Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law an automatic right for tenants to have an attorney, though it came with a catch — Inslee sent back two parts of the bill regarding landlord rental assistance.

In a memo after the April 22 bill signing, Inslee said the measure lacked guidance for how landlords could qualify for the rental assistance.

“It creates an entitlement for landlords to receive rent assistance without a sufficient framework to prioritize resources to those landlords who have the greatest need,” Inslee wrote in the release.

The amendments addressed issues he already took care of in another bill signed this session, Inslee wrote. HB 1368 includes $2 million in grant opportunities for eligible landlords, he said.

Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard, who sponsored the amendments Inslee vetoed, said she was disappointed in the governor’s action; Caldier’s amendments would have allocated another $7 million specifically for landlords.

“I find it odd that the governor has vetoed language his own agency provided to me and that I worked in good faith to have added to the bill,” Caldier said.

The new law includes a June 30 end to a year-long eviction moratorium passed last year, which had been added to the bill. More than 200,000 Washingtonians are behind on rent and face eviction, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We’re looking at a cliff come June 30 with thousands of families at risk of entering into homelessness,” Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, the bill’s main sponsor. “The provisions in SB 5160 will certainly help, but more time is needed to get all the resources in place. We are working with the governor and other interested parties to determine how much time is needed to ensure we don’t see a wave of evictions on July 1.”

The original bill added another two years to the eviction moratorium, which many Republican lawmakers said would hurt landlords who could not survive another two years.

SB 5160 will also make Washington the first state to secure an automatic right to counsel for tenants, which supporters say will help balance power between a landlord and their renter.

Paula Sardinas, a member of the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs who also served on Inslee’s eviction moratorium task force, said the inequitable impact of COVID-19 meant many Black renters were hurt by the economic and emotional toll of the pandemic. Although Black residents comprise 4.5% of the population, they represent 68% of renters, Sardinas said.

“We think that this policy has been necessary because of the disparate impact brought on by COVID,” Sardinas said. “We know that the Black community had problems paying their rent prior to COVID, and this is a good path forward.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Jesse Sarey’s family wants people to know who the real Jesse was

He was killed by Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson in 2019.

A Snoqualmie Officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Man killed by Snoqualmie Police was homeless, living in car

The 33-year-old man who was killed by a Snoqualmie police officer late… Continue reading

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

courtesy of PropertyShark
State’s richest zip codes are all in East King County, according to home value study

Medina zip code ranks among top 10 most affluent in the nation.

file photo
One-car collision on I-5 near Southcenter kills two 19-year-olds

According to the incident report, neither the passenger or driver were wearing seatbelts.

Most Read