Coronavirus (COVID-19): Should I enter into a rent repayment plan with my landlord?
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
If you couldn't pay rent that was due in March, April, May, or June 2020, 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 August 1, 2020?
- My landlord is trying to evict me anyway or collect the rent.
*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 in March, April, May, June or July of 2020 that you did not pay because of the pandemic.
You can't be evicted for failing to pay rent during the moratorium. Your landlord may ask you to enter a repayment plan for unpaid rent. This plan has to be specific to your 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.
How do I decide if a repayment plan is reasonable?
The governor's order says that a landlord cannot evict you 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?
IIf 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. This is why 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 info below.)
Do I have to pay rent after August 1, 2020?
The moratorium ends on August 1, 2020. You may have to pay rent that comes due in August on time, or you could be evicted.
In the meantime, a new state law will take effect on June 11. Under that new law, you may have 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.
My landlord is trying to evict me anyway or collect the rent.
Get legal help right away. Call
Housing Justice Project at (253) 234-4204 in King County
CLEAR Hotline: 1-888-201-1014 in all other counties, weekdays between 9:15 am and 12:15 pm
Your local volunteer lawyer program: check the list to find one in your county
Contact the state Attorney General’s office. Let them know your landlord is trying to evict you.
We also have sample letters that you can use, depending on your situation.
*You are still responsible to pay your rent. Washington’s “eviction moratorium” just pauses the court process. If you can pay the rent, or part of it, do not skip this responsibility!