Washington Moratorium on Commercial Evictions
On March 17, 2020 the City of Seattle issued an Emergency Order imposing an immediate moratorium on evictions and lease terminations of tenancies of any small businesses (50 or fewer employees) and nonprofit corporations. This moratorium is effective until the earlier of (i) the date the Mayor of Seattle terminates the order, or (ii) May 16, 2020. During the moratorium, the commercial landlord is not only restricted from evicting the tenant or terminating the tenancy, but the commercial landlord also cannot charge late fees, interest, or other charges due to the late payment of rent.
On March 17, 2020, King County Sherriff Mitzi Johanknecht notified King County Superior Court Presiding Judge James Rogers that her office was suspending the service and enforcement of evictions until further notice. Judge Rogers at first suspended the enforcement of unlawful detainer cases (or evictions) until March 30, 2020. However, in response to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation from Governor Inslee and a Washington State Supreme Court order, the King County Superior Court restricted all non-emergency hearings until after April 24, 2020, and canceled all trials through June 8, 2020. As a result, in King County, even if you file an unlawful detainer action, you may not be able to obtain or enforce an order restoring possession to the landlord until after April 24, 2020 (when the courts reopen) or after May 4, 2020 (when the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order expires).
On April 7, 2020, the City of Redmond mayor issued a Proclamation imposing an immediate moratorium on late fees, penalties, interest, or other charges due to the delinquent payment of rent for a period of 30 days. The mayor further instructed landlord to waive any such fees and encouraged but did not require landlords to provide at least six months of rent relief.
The Washington Supreme Court’s order restricts all non-emergent civil actions for proceeding until after April 24, 2020. Many county superior courts have issued their own orders restricting non-emergent civil actions. So, even if your City or County has not issued a moratorium on commercial evictions, it may be that your local court will not hear a motion to restore possession to the landlord until after April 24, 2020.
Update: On April 16, 2020, Governor Inslee issued a new Proclamation, which with regards to commercial tenancies, prevents commercial landlords from increasing rent on any commercial tenant whose business is materially affected by COVID 19 between April 16, 2020 and June 4, 2020.
If you are a commercial landlord looking for options to deal with non-paying tenants, or if you are a commercial tenant looking to enter into a payment plan with your landlord, we can help.