With many landlords and tenants hit hard by impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spokane County is expecting to face a large number of eviction cases after state and federal moratoria on evictions are lifted. In hopes of reducing the severity of a wave of evictions in the community, the Spokane County Superior Court has established an Eviction Resolution Program (ERP) that will require problem-solving steps before eviction cases may be filed in court.
The program has been implemented since 11/9/2020. Though state and federal eviction moratoria have not lifted yet, it is hoped that many landlords and tenants will join in the resolution programs early to take advantage of the assistance and get a head start on problem solving.
The goal of the program is to bring all parties together with trained resolution specialists to explore solutions such as available state and local rental assistance, or achievable payment plans that could help tenants retain their housing and divert many situations from the legal eviction process. The program was developed by the state Superior Court Judges’ Association (SCJA) in partnership with the state Office of Civil Legal Aid.
Landlords and tenants can find details about the eviction resolution program, and how they can participate, on the statewide web site dedicated to the program at http://www.courts.wa.gov/newsinfo/index.cfm?fa=newsinfo.EvictionResolutionProgram .
The Washington state and federal moratoria on evictions are now set to expire June 30, 2021, but the Eviction Resolution Program is available now for landlords and tenants. Funding from the federal CARES Act has been used to establish the pilot program, which will include free assistance from dispute resolution specialists who will be trained with information and resources specific to eviction situations based on non-payment. Funding also includes free assistance of interpreters.