Landlords receive little support with mounting financial pressure

As Governor Jay Inslee is set to sign an updated proclamation to extend the eviction moratorium through December 31, landlords are speaking out about the financial pressure that is mounting each month.

“I really need help. I really need someone to see this and say that this is not right. This is not right that a landlord has to take the whole burden on their own,” said Chastity Bryant.

Bryant is a first-time landlord who rents out a property in Tacoma for $2,200 a month. She said her tenant stopped paying rent after the eviction moratorium was announced, and now she’s in the red by thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and delinquent utility bills.  

“Okay so something has to give. Do I pay their light bill or do I pay my light bill this month, because I don’t want the liens to add up,” said Bryant. “I don’t want to get so far behind to where I drown. You know what I mean, I got three little kids. I can’t afford this. I didn’t expect this.”

RELATED: Washington state eviction moratorium extended through Dec. 31

Another landlord Dan Lean, who is also the owner of Beach Tavern, said his upstairs tenant also stopped paying rent following the governor’s order. He said it wasn’t out of good faith and financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Lean said the tenant was employed by the state and still making an earning. Lean decided to go ahead with the process of eviction, and when he served his tenant with an eviction notice, the tenant left the property of his own accord.

“The rent moratorium, I understand some people are hurting, but I think some of these people after 7 or 8 months are going to say I can’t pay it. So I think that the landlord is going to be out that money, and I don’t think the state can reimburse them,” said Lean.

The Washington Landlord Association is fielding 20 to 30 calls a day from landlords with high mortgages and renters who aren’t making payment.

“We’re the only state on the West Coast that’s protecting elective nonpayers, as well as people who are genuinely suffering from a Covid related hardship,” said Washington Lanlord Association President Rob Trickler.

Trickler said landlords can get tenants out if they’re selling the property or if the landlord decides to occupy the space as a primary residence.

“Primarily they’re selling their rentals to try and save what they can,” said Trickler.

As for Bryant, she said she’s tried to work out a payment plan with her tenant but so far he’s only promised to pay and vacate by this month. So far, that has not happened, according to Bryant.

“Who knows what’s going to happen on December 31?” said Bryant. “Who knows if our reserves run out, then what do we do? How do I feed my babies?”

A spokesperson for Inslee’s office said the proclamation that will be extended only includes modest updates.