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Seattle mayor signs order to halt evictions amid coronavirus pandemic

The temporary moratorium suspends evictions related to the non-payment or partial payment of rent for 30 days.

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an emergency order Saturday to put a temporary moratorium on residential evictions to help residents impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The temporary moratorium suspends evictions related to the non-payment or partial payment of rent for 30 days and prohibits late fees or other charges for late rental payments, according to the mayor’s office. The moratorium started immediately after it was signed Saturday.

The mayor’s office said tenants are still required to continue to pay their rent if they are able. Anyone experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state should work with their landlords on payment plans.

RELATED: Real-time updates: Coronavirus cases in Washington state

“As we take steps to slow the spread of the virus across Seattle’s communities, a part of that response is to ensure that families are not displaced and forced into homelessness,” said Mayor Durkan. “While the City will need significant state and federal resources to handle the long-term impacts of the crisis, we are charting the course for the rest of the country, and Seattle must set the example by reducing the financial hardship for workers impacted by this pandemic.”

During the temporary moratorium, property owners cannot issue “Pay or Vacate” notices for nonpayment, nor initiate an eviction notice.

“No one should have to worry about losing their home in the middle of a pandemic,” said Seattle City Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez. “The City is working collectively and swiftly to adopt public health best practices in response to COVID-19. This moratorium on residential evictions meets the crisis head on, by ensuring those who need to self-isolate can safely do so at home.”

The mayor’s office also said Durkan is looking for ways to provide rental assistance to low-income tenants, and also support property owners financially impacted by reduced rental income.

RELATED: Seattle woman who recovered from coronavirus now helping other families in need