Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the current eviction moratorium that has been in place for more than a year will come to an end on June 30. In its place will be a new eviction moratorium “bridge” that will go into effect July 1 through Sept. 30. The bridge is intended to smooth the transition away from the eviction moratorium as more tenant/landlord resources put in place by the 2021 Legislature become fully operational this fall.
What does this mean for lodging operators? Starting July 1, lodging operators may begin the process to remove guests who have not paid for their accommodations if the guest was residing in the hotel or motel for more than 30 days after March 1, 2020. Specific steps must be taken to legally proceed with the process. More details on that process below.
In March, 2020, the governor issued an emergency proclamation to protect tenants from being evicted during the pandemic. Hotel guests were originally defined as tenants under the proclamation. This resulted in several guests becoming long-term residents for the duration of the eviction moratorium, many of whom have not paid their bills.
While short-term accommodations were understandable, housing many of these guests for the last 15 months has posed significant challenges for lodging operators. In some cases, guests have accumulated thousands of dollars in charges over the duration of their stay—charges that are unlikely to be recovered.
Your state government affairs team lobbied during the 2021 Legislative session to modify the tenant definition within E2SSB 5160 to exclude guests taking up 30 or more days of residency in the hotel or motel after March 1, 2020. These changes were on hold while the governor’s eviction moratorium was in place. With the current moratorium coming to an end and lodging operators being excluded from the new executive proclamation going into effect, the provisions within E2SSB 5160 will take precedence.
The lifting of the moratorium means the provisions in E2SSB 5160 related to hotels and motels go into effect on July 1. Lodging operators may proceed with removing non-paying guests beginning July 1. A new state law approved in the 2021 legislation session requires lodging operators to provide guests with a seven-day eviction notice and operators must provide guests with specific housing resource information to guests who are removed from the property.
This housing resource information MUST be provided by lodging operators during any guest removal process. You can download a PDF with that the necessary housing information here.
The association requested a legal analysis of last week’s eviction moratorium announcement by Governor Inslee. You can find that analysis and FAQs here for additional information about the removal process.
7-Day Eviction Notice & Legal Analysis