Coronavirus (COVID-19): Should I enter into a rent repayment plan with my landlord?
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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If you couldn't pay rent that was due during the pandemic, learn why and how to ask your landlord for a repayment plan. #6341EN
- Why would I need a repayment plan?
- How do I decide if a repayment plan is reasonable?
- What if the landlord doesn’t offer me a reasonable repayment plan?
- What if I agree to a repayment plan and fail to pay?
- Do I have to pay rent after the moratorium ends?
- Can I get help paying the rent?
- My landlord is trying to collect the rent or evict me now anyway.
*Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.
Why would I need a repayment plan?
Under the governor's moratorium, renters have a right to ask for a repayment plan to pay rent that was due since March 2020 onward, which you could not pay because of the pandemic.
*For the most up-to-date information about eviction moratoria, read Coronavirus (COVID-19): There are only a few reasons your landlord can evict you right now
You can't be evicted for failing to pay rent during the moratorium, if that failure is related to COVID-19. Your landlord may ask you to enter a repayment plan for unpaid rent. This plan has to be specific to your own ability to pay. If you reject the plan or fail to make payments on a plan you agree to, you may be evicted after the moratorium ends.
*You are still responsible to pay your rent. An "eviction moratorium" just pauses an eviction process. If you can pay the rent, or part of it, do it!
How do I decide if a repayment plan is reasonable?
The governor's order says that a landlord cannot evict you for not paying rent unless you refuse or fail to pay on a repayment plan that is based on your own financial, health, or other circumstances.
For example, if you have no income and no money, it may be reasonable to tell a landlord you can't pay on the back rent you owe until you have a job again.
What if the landlord doesn't offer me a reasonable repayment plan?
If your landlord doesn't offer or agree to a reasonable plan, they cannot try to collect the rent. They cannot report it on your credit, sue you to collect it, or evict you for not paying it.
What if I agree to a repayment plan and fail to pay?
The landlord can evict you once the moratorium ends. It is important that you only agree to a repayment plan if you are sure you can pay it. Do not feel pressured to agree to something you cannot pay. If you are pressured, make a complaint to the Attorney General's Office. (Contact information below.)
Do I have to pay rent after the moratorium ends?
Yes. If you do not pay rent due after that, you could be evicted.
In the meantime, a new state law that took effect on June 11, 2020 may give you options about when your rent is due. Read Can I Change the Date My Rent is Due. This can also help you avoid late fees.
Can I get help paying the rent?
Maybe. Try multiple sources for payment assistance, including:
Try calling 2-1-1 or visit wa211.org.
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has programs you might be eligible for. Go to washingtonconnection.org to apply online, or call the DSHS customer service contact center at 877-501-2233.
Checkt the list of community action agencies near you.
Check the Rental Housing Association of Washington, under "Financial Assistance for Renters" at www.rhawa.org/covid-19#financialrenters,
Check online for an Associate Economic Development Organization (ADO) near you: www.commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/local-economic-partnerships.
My landlord is trying to collect the rent or evict me now anyway.
Get legal help right away.
In King County, call 2-1-1 weekdays between 8:00 am - 6:00 pm. They will refer you to a legal aid provider.
Outside King County, call CLEAR Hotline: 1-888-201-1014, weekdays between 9:15 am and 12:15 pm
Seniors (age 60 and over) can also call CLEAR*Sr at 1-888-387-7111, statewide.
Deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired callers can call CLEAR or 211 (or toll-free 1-877-211-9274) using a relay service of your choice.
CLEAR and 211 will provide free interpreters.
Also, let the state Attorney General's office know that your landlord is trying to evict you.
We also have sample forms below that you can use, depending on your situation.