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‘Really important to hear from both sides’: Spokane owners concerned over extension of eviction moratorium

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The moratorium on eviction of rents has been extended until the end of the year.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash Tenant unions statewide are grateful to Gov. Jay Inslee for extending the moratorium on evictions, but landlords are concerned about paying for their properties.

The moratorium prevents tenants from being evicted for not being able to pay rent. However, it also means that small homeowners still have to pay off their mortgages without that extra income.

The pandemic has caused a financial crisis and the housing market is hit hard. The extension lasts the rest of the year, which allayed fears of tenants of being evicted for non-payment of rent.

But as tenants breathe a sigh of relief, landlords must hold their breath.

“I know how painful it is to move and how overwhelming it can be not to know where you are going to be moving,” said independent owner Will Clark.

He has about two dozen units. He was in favor of the moratorium in the spring, but began to worry about paying his mortgages.

Most of his tenants are able to pay rent, but some cannot, he said. He said he could be more flexible with the payment because he had around 24 units, as long as they work together.

“I really appreciate that if you’re a tenant and you’re having a hard time you know communication with your landlord is key,” he said. “We can figure it out, for me to work on something this month or, you know, spread it out over the next few months, we will.”

The Landlord Association of the Inland Northwest said it is currently working with the tenants union because it has a common goal, which is to keep people in their homes.

“We worked together to secure funds,” said Steve Corker, president of the Inland Northwest Homeowners Association.

Financial aid is also a major problem for tenants and landlords.

“Each month, it costs homeowners about $ 2 million in metro Spokane,” he added. “So if we look at October, November, December, that’s another $ 6 million in aid that we basically need.”

Small landlords may not be able to house their tenants, which is why he wants people to try to see from the landlord’s perspective, Clark added.

“At the end of the day, if they can’t pay the rent there, there comes a time when I can’t afford the house anymore,” Clark said. “I would like to think that most have hearts and that they are going to work with you and get through this.”

Owners who need assistance can apply for CARES Act rental assistance. The Spokane Resource Center also has support options.

Right now, Spokane Valley is on the funding waiting list, while Spokane still has funds available, according to Corker.

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