This week the question for Ask Landlord Hank is about unpaid back rent and the eviction ban. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not giving legal advice so check your local ordinances. (Editors note: This answer was before the passage of the new American Rescue Plan and its details which are not all known for impact on landlords.)
Dear Landlord Hank,
I have a tenant who owes me $8,800 in unpaid back rent cumulated over the last 10 months. He repeatedly missed payments of our payment plan. It’s causing me emotional stress and affecting my health. I’m in Washington state, which has an eviction ban in place until March 31. What should I do?
Dear Landlord Tammy,
The FHA has extended the eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. BUT if your property doesn’t have a loan then you may still be able to evict this tenant.
Has the tenant given you any paperwork saying they have COVID-19 or have been affected by COVID-19?
I would contact a local attorney that handles landlord/tenant law in your area to see if you can successfully evict this tenant.
You could also contact your magistrate court and get some answers. You don’t want to win an eviction hearing only to have the sheriff’s department not dispossessing tenants.
So that is one part of the issue, the other part is the unpaid back rent and lost rent of $8,800.
Last April, the first COVID-19 relief package passed Congress, the CARES act. This act included more than $350 billion for new Small Business Administration programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Last December, Congress appropriated even more funds, and there is a loan-forgiveness process in place for those borrowing less than $150,000. Both of these programs have been extended until Sept 30, 2021.
So I would look into that as well. Perhaps you can have your tenant evicted and get help from the federal government for your unpaid back rent losses. Best of luck to you in these trying times.
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