Washington landlords suing the state over eviction moratorium they fear may be extended

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee is facing another lawsuit over his ban on evictions. 

The Washington Landlord Association is one of several plaintiffs on the complaint filed Tuesday. They say some landlords have not received a rent payment in eight months, forcing those property owners to make some tough decisions. 

The governor’s eviction moratorium is supposed to end on December 31, however the WLA is almost certain it will be extended into the new year. 

Washington Landlord Association President Rob Trickler says by skipping rent payments, some tenants are digging themselves into a hole they won’y be able to crawl out of. He fears many landlords will never be reimbursed. 

“This order in our opinion has been unlawful since 30 days after it was issued,” said Trickler. 

Trickler says landlords have largely been ignored throughout the eviction moratorium. 

“Our membership is primarily the mom and pops,” said Trickler. 

If tenants aren’t paying rent, landlords still have to pay their mortgage, property taxes, and make home repairs. 

Trickler says he feels for people who have truly lost their jobs and income during the pandemic. However, he says some tenants have simply taken advantage of the law. 

“I have members and clients that have tenants that are buying new automobiles and camping trailers in the like while not paying their rents, painfully employed,” said Trickler. 

He fears the moratorium is a problem that’s ballooning. 

“Obviously the longer this goes on and the higher those bills get the less likely the tenant is ever going to manage that and the landlord will never see any of that,” said Trickler. 

According to Crosscut, 500,000 renters in Washington were using credit cards or short-term loans to meet their basic spending needs at the end of October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. 

In total, 63,000 tenants were occupying their homes without paying rent. 

The state of Washington has set aside funds to reimburse landlords for the lost rent. However, Trickler called it a complicated mess, saying the payment is often limited to 80% of three to four months and some landlords may be required to extend the lease through March. He says that’s not a good enough deal for landlords.