|WA scrambles to avoid mass evictions as moratorium nears end|
Tenants and landlords both favor more rent assistance, but some want lawmakers to go further.
For every month since evictions were banned in Washington last March, tenants in the state accrued somewhere around $100 million in owed rent. By that estimate — which comes from the state Department of Commerce — renters here could now be over $1 billion in debt, a sum that grows each week.
Even as that number swells, the end to the state’s eviction moratorium is coming into view. After Gov. Jay Inslee extended the moratorium multiple times, most lawmakers, lobbyists and advocates expect March 31 will mark its true end — at least at the state level. Then the question of what will happen to renters without the moratorium’s blunt relief will go from hypothetical to very much real.
Arianna Laureano knows the weight of that burden well. Had it not been for the protections from state and local governments, she’s sure that she and her roommate would have lost their apartment in Seattle’s University District. Laureano has been homeless before and the fear of losing her stable place to sleep was a “catastrophic feeling.”
“I see what’s coming because I’ve lived it,” Laureano said. “I’m terrified for every single Washington renter.”