N. Idaho property management company to pay $50,000 for violating Washington eviction moratorium
HAYDEN, Idaho — A Hayden property management company will pay $50,000 for violating Washington’s eviction moratorium. This case was brought to light in August 2020 by the Washington Attorney General’s Office and residents of Spokane properties.
The lawsuits claims Whitewater Creek violated the moratorium and threatened to evict several tenants of low-income housing complexes in Spokane County, including Winter Heights Apartments in Spokane Valley. In e-mails obtained by the AG’s Office, staff members, at the direction of majority owner Maryann Prescott, verbally threatened at least four residents at properties it was responsible for.
In a previous interview with a tenant, Skyla Morris told 4 News Now a payment plan was set up in order to pay back rent. Morris claimed the manager told her she was going to be evicted or face eviction when the courts opened back up. The apartment manager is also accused of telling Morris they would file harassment charges if she kept calling.
This is when she went to the AG’s office and a lawsuit was filed.
The AG’s Office sent a letter in May requesting Whitewater Creek notify all residents that the moratorium prohibits threats of eviction and comply. AG Bob Ferguson said the company instead consistently and falsely denied that it threatened to evict anyone.
The fine includes civil penalties and the cost of bringing the case to the table. Whitewater Creek also has to notify the AG’s Office for the next three years if the property company is going to evict a resident. Additionally, the company must train all employees on tenants’ rights.
“Due to the pandemic, many Washingtonians are struggling,” Ferguson said. “Whitewater Creek is a sophisiticated company. Nonetheless, it illegally threatened its tenants, most of whom have limited means. This resolution holds them accountable and sends a message to others that they need to follow the law.”
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