Spokane Valley mother threatened with eviction, Washington sues property management company

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — A single mother of two threatened with eviction is getting help from the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

Skyla Morris said she was doing well at the beginning of the year. She faced hardships in March when everything started to shut down.

“Between the time of when I lost my hours to the time that I got another job, was about a good seven to eight weeks that I was completely without income,” Morris said.

Her income was cut in half when she found a new job. During this time, Morris said she started to get behind on rent. She said she owed a few hundred dollars.

Morris said the manager of the Winter Heights apartment complex made a payment plan with her.

“We had arrangements set,” Morris explained. “She [manager] said you’re good, you have nothing to worry about and then a few days later I’m getting told I’m being sent to legal.”

She said the manager told her that she was also being evicted or face eviction when the courts opened back up. Morris said she called the Hayden-based company, Whitewater Creek, to figure out what she needed to do.

“I called once in the morning and I explained the situation. I said I really need to speak to someone about this. This is serious,” she said. “This is my livelihood, and if you guys are saying this I want to work it out with you and see what we have to do.”

Morris said someone told her they would call her back. When Morris called again that same day, the person on the other end said they were only the bookkeeper and couldn’t help.

“I was told later from my apartment manager that they told her that if I kept calling they would press charges for harassment,” Morris said.

This is when she decided to take action and contact Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office.

“I felt like what they were doing wasn’t right,” Morris said. “If they would’ve talked to me in the first place, gave me answers, and come up with a solution with me like I wanted to, I wouldn’t have gone to the AG’s office.”

On August 20, the state filed a lawsuit against Whitewater Creek.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Washington sues N. Idaho property management company for violating eviction moratorium

The lawsuit claims Whitewater Creek violated the Evictions Proclamation and Consumer Protection Act by threatening to evict several residents of low-income housing complexes in Spokane County.

Emails obtained by the AG’s Office reportedly show Whitewater Creek personnel, at the direction of majority owner Maryann Prescott, verbally threatened at least four residents at properties it was responsible for.

“It’s not just a me situation, the other residents they’re doing this to,” Morris said. “It’s not like it’s just specific to us, like we’re the only ones going through this. It’s a worldwide pandemic and everybody’s being hit.”

Ferguson said Prescott wanted tenants to know they would be evicted for unpaid rent and/or fees as soon as courts reopened for eviction proceedings.

Morris said she’s still behind on rent, but does have a new payment plan in place. She said she has no problem paying them back.

According to Dan Jackson, Communications Consultant for the Attorney General’s Office, a status conference is scheduled for November, when a trial schedule will be set.

“I really hope that this teaches them a lesson, and I hope that they don’t do this in the future,” Morris explained.

4 News Now reached out to Whitewater Creek for comment. They said a representative will reach out on Thursday.

Gov. Inslee’s eviction moratorium is extended through Oct. 15.

READ: New rental assistance program available to people living in Spokane Valley