Don’t panic. Yahovah has blessed this firm beyond measure and we are open for business to share in His blessing. He is our Rock and our Salvation, and we shall not be moved. Psalms 62:2, 6.
Below is an overview of some of the resources available nationwide, statewide, and citywide for Seattle and Tacoma.
DISCLAIMER: This is meant to be an overview and not a comprehensive list of emergency orders and resources. Legal Wellspring, PLLC will endeavor to update this list as new orders are declared, or new resources come available. Large portions of this post have been copied directly from federal, state and city websites and press releases and are not original material.
Homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The FHFA release this proclamation on March 18. The foreclosure suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans
Disaster assistance loans now available to all Washington small businesses economically impacted by the COVID-19.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email email@example.com for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.
No New Residential Evictions for 30 Days
On March 18, Governor Inslee announced a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 day.
The announcement states that no residential landlord may serve a notice of unlawful detainer for default payment of rent. Further, residential landlords are prohibited from issuing a 20-day notice for unlawful detainer unless the landlord attaches an affidavit attesting that the action is believed necessary to ensure the health and safety of the tenant or other individuals.
If you have already received 14 day notice to pay or vacate…
If you received 14 day notice to pay or vacate before this order went into effect don’t worry. Residential landlords are prohibited from initiating judicial actions based on failure to pay. So, if you have received a notice they cannot file for an actual eviction until this moratorium is lifted.
If you have already received a writ of restitution…
A writ of restitution is the order the court signs after you have had an opportunity for a hearing. If you have already received one of these law enforcement may not enforce that order if it is based solely on nonpayment of rent. This means law enforcement can enforce an eviction for a different reason such as commission of a crime on the premises or nuisance issues.
What to do During Eviction Suspension
Communication is key. Communicate with your landlord or lender. Earlier this month the FHFA announced that the Enterprises would provide forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus, which would allow for a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months due to a hardship caused by the coronavirus.
Pay your rent if you can.
Legal Wellspring, PLLC is open for business and we are offering a special virtual clinic from 5:00pm to 7:00pm Sunday through Thursday to answer questions related to the eviction moratorium.
We are still offering our regular services, but the virtual clinic consists of a 30 minute phone call designed to address limited questions and concerns. The price is $100.
We also offer negotiation packages if you need assistance negotiating a payment plan or some other arrangement. Because of the large volume of calls we have been receiving we cannot answer each call.
Either leave a message or email Vanessa@LegalWellspring.com. Please put “Virtual Clinic” in the subject line and in the body put your name, your business name if applicable, the name of the landlord, and your address. This will expedite the conflict check and ensure we are giving you the most up to date information for your county.
Scenarios and Benefits Available to Individuals and Employers
The Governor’s office has provided a chart showing the Scenarios & Benefits Available to individuals and employers.
COMING SOON: Legal Wellspring, PLLC is teaming up with Lockerby Law, PLLC to bring you a podcast concerning unemployment and housing issues surrounding COVID-19 measures. The link will be posted here when the podcast is released.
Resources for Small Businesses
- Guidance for business from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries can be found here.
- Gov. Inslee announced March 18 up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state Department of Commerce will coordinate an application process.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle City Light (SCL) will keep utility services on during the COVID-19 Civil Emergency in Seattle, providing utility relief for customers, both residential and commercial, financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
All SPU and SCL customers can set up deferred payment plans if their financial stability has been jeopardized by COVID-19. Utility service will stay on as their deferred payment plans are developed and implemented. Customers financially impacted by COVID-19 are urged to set up payment plans with either SCL or SPU by calling 206-684-3000 or sending an email anytime.
In addition to encouraging customers to set up payment plans, SPU and SCL have created a Utility Discount Program (UDP) self-certification form for income-eligible customers. This allows income-eligible residential customers to access heavily discounted utilities by simply signing a short form that attests to their household income, rather than having to provide income documentation. This will provide immediate and lasting utility bill relief for customers who are unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
UDP lowers Seattle City Light bills by 60 percent and Seattle Public Utility bills by 50 percent. To learn more about enrollment in UDP, call 206-684-0268. Eligibility requirements can be found here.
No Late Fees for Partial Payment on Rent
In the City of Seattle, a residential landlord cannot charge late fees for partial payments during the moratorium.
Evictions Halted for Small Businesses and Non-Profits
“Small Business” means any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, that is owned and operated independently from all other businesses and that has fifty or fewer employees.” RCW 19.85.020(3)
Evictions halted until the earlier of: termination of the civil emergency declared in the Proclamation of Civil Emergency dated March 3, 2020 or 60 days from March 17.
Mayor Durkan’s order also prevents small businesses and non-profits from incurring late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment during the moratorium.
Expanded Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Policy
Legislation expanded Paid Sick and Safe Time policy to cover school, day care and adult day care closures for families who need to take time off work due to impacts from the coronavirus.
- Deferral of B&O Taxes
- Expansion of Small Business Stabilization Fund
- Assistance to Access SBA Loans
- Relief for Utility Payments
- New Small Business Recovery Task Force
- New Load / Unload Zones for Restaurants
Amazon Small Business Relief: Amazon announced that it is making $5 million available to support local businesses with fewer than 50 employees that generate under $7 million in annual revenue. These grants can be accessed by businesses within a few blocks of its Denny Regrade and Southlake Union buildings.
Support for Artists and Cultural Organizations
Mayor Durkan announced $1.1 million has been set aside to support the artists and artistic organizations being hit hard by this crisis. As our City grapples with the effects of this virus and the isolation that combatting it requires, our creative people will provide us with the distractions, virtues, culture, and stories we need to see us through.
The Arts Stabilization Fund will invest $1 million in arts and cultural organizations to help mitigate revenue losses due to the moratorium on events and public gatherings. Funds will be distributed through the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s grant programs.
Additionally, the City invested $100,000 to two community programs, the Seattle Artists Relief Fund and the Artist Trust COVID-19 Artist Relief Fund see if you qualify for this relief.
The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture has a helpful list of Resources for Artists and Organizations Amid COVID-19.
Support for People Experiencing Homelessness
The City of Seattle is working to provide more resources for people living unsheltered during this public health emergency. First and foremost, the City will deploy additional hygiene stations, portable toilets, and sanitation services across Seattle. Additionally, the City is taking several steps to provide more healthy living environments for our homeless neighbors: expanding shelter capacity across Seattle, while “de-intensifying” existing shelter capacity; creating isolation and quarantine spaces for people who are infected or are at risk of infection; and providing recovery spaces for individuals who do not require emergency care.
Furthermore, the City will pause the removal of encampments unless they present a significant barrier to access sidewalks or other public rights of way and are extraordinary public safety hazards. The City’s Navigation Team will focus on connecting individuals who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 with essential medical services. Removal of waste, garbage, and debris from unmanaged encampments will remain a priority in their function, as will the distribution of hygiene kits to people currently living in those encampments.
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will continue the shower program for those in need at Delridge, Green Lake, Meadowbrook, Miller and Rainier community centers, and all SPR bathrooms and handwashing stations will remain open. These services are being continued as part of ongoing, developing efforts to support some of our most vulnerable neighbors.
The Public Utility Board approved the use of $1M in funds for an Emergency Assistance Program, which will allow more customers to qualify for bill assistance during the current State of Emergency. Click here to read the press release.
The Emergency Assistance Program will provide a utility credit of up to $250 for eligible single-family households, usable toward TPU bills. The eligibility requirements for this new program will allow more TPU customers to qualify for bill pay assistance than under the existing Bill Credit Assistance Plan (BCAP).
TPU customers who are having trouble paying their bills should contact Customer Service at (253) 502-8600 or (800) 752-6745 and ask about extended payment plans. The department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Our lobby will be closed to the public until further notice.
No parking tickets will be issued in downtown Tacoma
Small Business Relief