Exceptions to Washington State’s Eviction Moratorium

May 7, 2021 | Uncategorized

Washington State’s current eviction moratorium was recently extended through June 30, 2021. See Proclamation by the Governor, 20-19.6, Evictions and Related Housing Practices [hereinafter Proc. 20-19.6]. Among other provisions, under this moratorium, landlords and property owners are prohibited from serving or enforcing eviction notices, notices of termination, or any other notice requiring a tenant to vacate a dwelling. Proc. 20-19.6 at 5.

The proclamation allows for two limited exceptions. If the property owner intends to either sell the property or personally occupy the premises as their primary residence, they may provide 60 days’ written notice to the tenant in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury. If the tenant does not vacate the property at the end of 60 days, the owner may seek and enforce judicial eviction orders. Id.

Under the second exception, eviction is prohibited “unless the landlord, property owner, or property manager . . . attaches an affidavit to the eviction or termination of tenancy notice attesting that the action is necessary to respond to a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others created by the resident.” Id.

 The Proclamation specifies that such a “significant and immediate risk” must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must be described in the affidavit with “particularity”;
  2. It includes behavior by a resident which is “imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises” (citing Wash. Rev. Code. § 59.18.130(8)(a));
  3. It cannot be established “on the basis of the resident’s own health condition or disability”;
  4. It is not a situation related to being exposed to, contracting, isolating, or quarantining due to COVID-19;
  5. It must be “urgent in nature.”


The Proclamation further explains that situations that are “urgent in nature,” preclude “conditions that were known or knowable to the landlord, property owner, or property manager pre-COVID-19 but regarding which that entity took no action.” Proc. 20-19.6 at 8.

Options that Landlords may have under the Washington law:

  1. Offer re-payment plan. If they refuse, use as grounds to collect past due rent;
  2. Assist tenants with rental assistance programs to obtain rental payments until moratorium expires;
  3. Settlement offer to move out for $$.

If you need assistance navigating Washington State’s current eviction moratorium or have other legal needs concerning real estate in Washington, please contact our office.

This blog post is designed to provide general information on pertinent legal topics. The statements made are provided for educational purposes only. This blog does not provide legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Smith + Malek, PLLC. If you want to create an attorney-client relationship and have specific questions regarding the application of the law to your own circumstances, you should contact our office.