When does my landlord have to give me a 30-day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate instead of a 14-day Notice?

If you live in a building in Washington State that has a government subsidy or a federally backed mortgage, read this. #6160EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, you should read this if you live in a building in Washington State that has a government subsidy or a federally backed mortgage.

Under a new court decision, your landlord may have to give you 30 days' notice to pay rent or vacate if you are late on rent.

In 2020, Congress passed a law protecting renters from being forced to move out of buildings that get money from the federal government without proper notice. This is called the "CARES Act."

Under a new case in Washington, the court ruled that landlords covered by the CARES Act must give 30-day notices to pay or vacate, instead of the usual 14-day notice.

If your landlord who is covered by the CARES Act doesn't give you a 30-day notice, this could be a defense to an eviction lawsuit.

If your landlord is a "covered dwelling," they must give you a 30-day notice to pay rent or vacate. See the list below.

Covered dwellings include nearly any building that gets some money from the federal government. If you use a Section 8 housing voucher, or live in a "tax credit" building, you live in a "covered dwelling." You also live in a covered dwelling if the place you live in has a federally backed mortgage. You may be able to find this out by looking online.

To look up if your landlord gets money from any federal program, try by checking at these websites: 

There is a complete list of all the programs where landlords get federal money below.

It can be hard to tell if the CARES Act covers your landlord. You can also try to contact a lawyer for help figuring this out. See Get Legal Help below.

You can send the landlord a letter letting the landlord know they must give you the right notice. See the sample letter below.

If the landlord still doesn't give you a 30-day notice after getting this letter, this could be a defense to an eviction lawsuit.

No. The court said this is not okay. The landlord has to give you 30 days before they file an eviction against you.

It isn't clear. The Washington court did not address this. 

If you think the real reason or part of the reason your landlord is evicting you is because you have unpaid rent, speak to a lawyer to see if you have a CARES Act defense. See Get Legal Help below. 

You should talk to a lawyer right away about these options:  

  • You can get ready to fight it in eviction court. Because you live in a "covered dwelling," you have the right to defend the eviction by telling the court your landlord messed up the notice. Evictions can be unpredictable and damage your rental record. Talk to a lawyer right away or ask to have a lawyer appointed for you if you have a low income and have legal paperwork already.

  • You can try to get rental assistance or pay the rent owed. Paying the amount demanded in the notice should stop the landlord from going to court. Your landlord may not be willing to accept less than they are demanding.

  • You can move out. You may still owe the rent even if you move out, but a landlord won't be able to file an eviction against you if you move out before the end of the period in the notice. While you have the right to 30 days, there may be some circumstances that make it riskier to wait and fight the case in court.

"Covered Dwellings" under the CARES Act include:

Public housing;

Project-based Section 8 housing or other HUD-subsidized multifamily;

Housing Choice Voucher program;

Section 202 housing for the elderly;

Section 221 below market rate housing;

Section 236 multifamily housing;

Section 811 housing for people with disabilities;

HOME Investment Partnership Program;

Housing Opportunities for People with Aids;

McKinney-Vento Act housing programs (including Shelter+Care voucher);

Section 515 Rural Development rural rental housing;

Section 514/516 farm labor housing;

Section 533 USDA preservation grant housing;

Section 538 USDA multifamily housing;

Rural housing voucher program;

Low-income housing tax credit program

Fannie Mae owned mortgage loan;

Freddie Mac owned mortgage loan;

HUD Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee

Ginnie Mae backed mortgage loan:

  • Federal Housing Administration

  • Veterans Administration

  • USDA direct or guarantee loan

Section 202 direct loan program

Federal housing trust fund program

VASH vouchers (or any other program that provides federal housing assistance to veteran families);

Transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;

Any other federal program providing affordable housing to low-or moderate-income persons:

  • by means of restricted rents or rental assistance, or

  • otherwise providing affordable housing opportunities as identified through agency regulations, notices, or any other means."

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Mar 23, 2023
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