WA landlords sue over eviction protection

Landlords are once again suing over Washington’s pandemic-era eviction protections.

The Washington Business Properties Association, a coalition of real estate groups, filed a lawsuit in Spokane County Superior Court this month arguing the state’s current eviction process illegally delays landlords’ ability to access the courts.  The complaint centers around the state’s Eviction Resolution Pilot Program. Under a state law passed in 2021, landlords who want to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent must first notify a Dispute Resolution Center in their county and wait for the center to issue them a certificate.

The process is meant to allow third-party mediators who contract with the state to reach out to the tenant and try to help facilitate negotiation between the two sides. If they can reach an agreement without the landlord filing for an eviction, courts are less likely to be buried in eviction cases and tenants may be able to avoid an eviction filing on their record.

But landlords argue the dispute resolution centers can be slow to issue the certificates, sometimes taking six months or longer. Resolution Washington, the statewide coalition of dispute resolution centers, denied the charge that delays are widespread. From November through June, the median case took 22 days, according to the organization.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, which will defend the state against the suit, is reviewing the complaint, spokesperson Dan Jackson said. (Seattle Times)

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