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 in March, April, May, June or July 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 October 15, 2020?
- Can I get help paying the rent?
- 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, July, August, September, or October of 2020 that you did not pay because of the pandemic.
*Read Coronavirus (COVID-19): You cannot be evicted during the crisis unless you are causing a threat, or your landlord wants to sell or move into the property, available at WashingtonLawHelp.org, to learn more.
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?
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 October 15, 2020?
The moratorium ends on October 15, 2020. If you do not pay rent that comes due in November on time, you could be evicted.
In the meantime, a new state law took effect on June 11, 2020. That new law 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?
Try calling 2-1-1 or visit wa211.org.
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has programs you might be eligible for. Apply online or call the DSHS customer service contact center at 877-501-2233.
Check online for a community action agency near you.
Check online for an Associate Economic Development Organization (ADO) near you.
My landlord is trying to evict me anyway or collect the rent.
Get legal help right away.
Housing Justice Project at (253) 234-4204 in King County
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!