The Olympia City Council passed an ordinance yesterday providing protection to renters in danger of eviction because of pandemic-related factors.
This meeting marked the second time the ordinance came before the council, after a majority voted last week that clarifying language be added. The ordinance was unanimously approved yesterday without further conversation.
The JOLT News previously reported that the proposed ordinance would provide tenants a defense during a court eviction hearing, should they be unable to pay their rent between the time the ordinance was passed and July 1, 2021. In Washington, landlords cannot evict someone without a court order. Here in Thurston County, eviction hearings go to the Thurston County Superior Court.
Now, tenants will be able to employ the new defense provided by this ordinance. It will allow tenants to pay back accrued rent in installments, at a rate not to exceed one-third of the overdue rent per month. Each tenant must sign a payment agreement with their landlord. All the overdue rent will be due by Oct. 1, 2021.
Additionally, late fees, interest and other additional charges will be suspended for tenants who abide by this payment agreement.
City Manager Jay Burney told the council last week that he had met with numerous city landlords. They told him a majority of their tenants are still making timely payments. Statistics show 54 percent of Olympia households rent their housing.
The ordinance, which is modeled after a similar law passed in King County, was initially set to coincide with the expiration of a statewide eviction moratorium that’s been in place since March. But last week, for the second time, Gov. Jay Inslee extended the moratorium. It’s now in place until the end of the year, Inslee announced during a broadcast press conference.
The state’s moratorium also widely defends individuals from eviction and requires landlords to establish a payment plan with tenants who can’t pay their rent.
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Thursday, October 15, 2020 Report this