Washington State Moratorium on Utilities Receives Final Extension


A final extension of the Washington state utility moratorium was announced last week, meaning the ban on cuts will expire on September 30.

A press release from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office said it would be the final extension of the moratorium and align with the end date of the moratorium on evictions. The press release says it’s designed to give Washingtonians struggling with housing payments time to ask for help.

The state encourages utility companies to make good faith efforts to reach customers with delinquent accounts and partner with community organizations, and provide information on assistance options. He also encourages them to help clients find financial assistance programs from government agencies that they can use.

Inslee is also asking companies to offer extended payment plans of 12 months or more, waive disconnection and other fees, and refrain from reporting overdue accounts to credit bureaus or placing liens on them. customers with overdue accounts for at least 180 days.

However, the press release did not state that this was required of utility companies.

Inslee also announced an extension of the moratorium on evictions until September 30 as well. This moratorium was announced on June 24.

“As we all know, COVID has had a significant economic impact on our state and many Washingtonians are still struggling financially. That’s why I put in place a moratorium on evictions last year, ”Inslee said at a press conference. “These are all reasonable steps and will help ensure that tenants and landlords have the opportunity to receive the support and resources that are available to them.”

The new extension is intended to serve as a bridge and is not the same as previous standstill orders issued by Inslee. Inslee announced its first stop on evictions in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

A press release from the governor’s office states the following:

For previous rents due from February 29, 2020 to July 31, 2021, landlords are prohibited from evicting a tenant until an operational rental assistance program and eviction resolution program are in place in their county. Additionally, landlords are prohibited from treating past unpaid rents or other charges as enforceable debt until both landlord and tenant have had an opportunity to resolve the non-payment through a program. pilot resolution of evictions.

As of August 1, tenants must pay the full rent, the reduced rent negotiated with the landlord, or actively seek rent assistance funds. Landlords can only evict a tenant if none of these steps are taken, but must offer the tenant a reasonable repayment plan before starting the eviction process. Tenants must also be provided, in writing, with available services and support.

Hotels and motels, Airbnbs, long-term care facilities and other non-traditional accommodation are exempt from the ordinance.

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