Eviction Resolution Pilot Program

NOTICE TO RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS and TENANTS in Washington State

The “Bridge Proclamation” extending some eviction moratorium protections expired on October 31, 2021. Potential evictions for unpaid rent from March 1, 2020 until the present are now subject to the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP), as enacted in April, 2021 (SB 5160 Section 7, RCW 59.18.630).

 

Landlords must engage the ERPP process before an eviction for unpaid rent may proceed to court. ERPP begins when a landlord serves a tenant and sends the local dispute resolution center an ERPP Notice along with a 14 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. In some counties where a landlord sent these notices during the eviction moratorium or Bridge period for rent due from March, 2020 through July, 2021, new notices may be required under the ERPP. For unpaid rent due between August and October, 2021 only, previous ERPP Notices and 14 Day Notices to Pay or Vacate may be sufficient. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to consult legal counsel.

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The COVID 19 pandemic has completely changed many things, including people’s jobs, ability to pay their bills, and a general sense of safety and home. Renters want to avoid the threat of homelessness. Housing providers want to avoid the threat of bankruptcy. Washington State launched the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) to address and mitigate disputes about rent owed.

The ERPP brings tenants and landlords together with a professionally trained, impartial mediator to help them solve rent issues before an unlawful detainer (eviction) case is filed in court. Services are free, confidential, and available regardless of immigration status.

This program is founded on three pillars: dispute resolution, legal aid, and rental assistance.

 

Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) statewide already offer mediation to resolve unpaid rent issues as part of their core services as local nonprofit, public service organizations. The Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) is active and DRCs now offer mediation and referral resources to support tenants and landlords to help stabilize rental housing for everyone.

Resolution Washington recognizes that people of color and other underserved community members are disproportionately impacted by these difficult times. The DRCs’ role is to provide services with a focus on helping people create solutions that work for them and providing access to justice for Washington residents statewide. 

Tenant

For tenants at risk of eviction to get help prior to eviction.

Landlord

For landlords missing rent payments to get help without going to court.

Legal Support

For legal advisors looking for information on the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program

Rental assistance provider

For Rental Assistance Providers looking for information on the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program

  • Landlords start the process by issuing an ERPP Notice and Resource form to Tenants with rent owed. Landlords send a copy of the Notice to their local Dispute Resolution Center (DRC).

  • DRC staff contact the tenant(s) to invite participation in the program.

  • DRC staff connect tenants and landlords to any available rental assistance, and provide referral to other resources as needed.

  • An impartial, third-party Early Resolution Specialist (ERS) from a Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) facilitates the ERPP process, helping landlords and tenants communicate and resolve disputes.

  • If the process is not successful, the DRC issues a certificate which the landlord may file with an unlawful detainer case.

  • The tenant may ask for a lawyer's help in an unlawful detainer (eviction) court case. There are free Eviction Defense Clinics or Housing Justice Projects in each of the participating counties for tenants based on income eligibility.

Participating in ERPP

  • Through June 30, 2023, Landlords must give tenants the option to participate in ERPP before the landlord can file an unlawful detainer (eviction) case in court.

  • Mediation is voluntary for the parties.

  • Tenants and landlords are encouraged to seek legal advice. Legal help may be provided free of charge.

Additional Information and Links

General information

With nearly 1 million people out of work in Washington State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many tenants have been unable to pay rent, and landlords have not received payments. As eviction moratoria end, the courts anticipate a wave of unlawful detainer cases that can lead to eviction overwhelming the Washington State Courts.

The Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) was established in late 2020 in six initial counties, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Clark, and Spokane counties. The program expanded to a statewide, mandatory program in fall 2021.

Recent estimates from the census show that approximately 10%, or one in ten, of Washington renters are behind on rental payments as of September 2021.

About ERPP

The ERPP can help stabilize housing, empowering tenants and landlords to make decisions themselves. Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) help landlords and tenants to talk and solve issues, and also to access resources including rental assistance and legal information. The landlord and tenant may be able to access rental assistance, create a rent payment plan, or create a move out plan without going to court.

The ERPP Process

 

Tenant information

Tenants may face potential eviction for non-payment of rent. Renters have the option to receive services through the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program before an unlawful detainer (eviction) court case can be filed.

Services include help talking with your landlord about the rent owed and help accessing rental and legal assistance.  ERPP services are free and will be accessible to you regardless of immigration status. Language help is available.

Various eviction moratoriums and tenant protections exist locally and nationally, and tenants are strongly encouraged to consult an attorney for legal options. 

After the State Eviction Moratorium and Bridge End - October 31, 2021

  • Before your landlord can file an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit in court, they must give you the option to use the ERPP. [Note that some counties or cities have a local eviction moratorium in place.]

  • You may contact your local Dispute Resolution Center to find out more about the process and talk about your situation before deciding if you want to participate.

  • It's your choice if whether or not to paritcipate. If you choose to participate your landlord is required to participate as well.

  • Staff and impartial mediators with a Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) will help tenants talk with their landlord about rent owed, and help them access rental and legal assistance.

  • The DRC will try to connect tenants to any available rental assistance

  • Tenants are encouraged to talk with a lawyer.  Legal help may be provided free of charge to qualified, low-income tenants during participation in ERPP.

  • If the tenant does not participate in the ERPP, or if the tenant and landlord do not come to an agreement through the ERPP, the landlord may file an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit.

  • If a court case occurs, the tenant may ask a lawyer for help defending them in court. There are legal aid organizations, including Housing Justice Project or Volunteer Lawyer Programs, available in each community. Services are free to qualified, low-income tenants.

Click here to find the ERPP contact information for your local Dispute Resolution Center.

Legal Help for Tenants Facing Potential Eviction

 

Contact the Eviction Defense Screening Line at 855-657-8387, or apply online at https://nwjustice.org/apply-online.  If you don't get through on your first call, leave a message and they will return your call within a few days.

Additional Tenant Information Resource Links

landlord Information

Additional Landlord Information Resource Links

The Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) is required by local Superior Court order prior to filing an unlawful detainer action for nonpayment of rent.

The ERPP helps landlords and tenants resolve nonpayment of rent cases through dispute resolution and access to rental assistance and legal aid. The landlord and tenant may be able to access rental assistance to repay the rent owed, work out a plan for the tenant to pay the rent owed over time, or create a plan to move out without an unlawful detainer action.

The local Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) helps tenants and landlords communicate through informal and formal processes including conciliation, meet and confer, and mediation.  DRCs are impartial and serve to help you and the tenant to resolve the issues.

Various eviction moratoriums exist locally and nationally, and landlords are strongly encouraged to consult an attorney prior to serving a 14-day notice and/or filing an unlawful detainer action.

The ERPP is a process initiated by the landlord prior to pursuing eviction through court. According to state statute and SB 5160, landlords are required to provide a reasonable rent repayment offer. Before pursuing eviction for rent owed, the landlord has to provide the ERPP Notice to the tenant behind on rent payments and send a copy to the DRC serving that county. If the tenant responds to a notice and accepts services, the landlord is obligated to participate in the process. Participation involves exploring options that may include accessing rental assistance and discussing options with the tenant with help from the DRC.

Step 1

With a rent due notice or letter, the ERPP Notice must be delivered to the tenant. The tenant may voluntarily engage in the process within 14 days. The Notice includes contact information of the county Dispute Resolution Center (DRC), rental assistance resources and legal aid.

Step 2

When the DRC contacts you, participate in negotiation and access to resources to resolve the unpaid rent. If you and the tenant are able to resolve the issues with DRC services and/or rental assistance, congratulations! You will have solved the problem and will receive a copy of the agreement. If you work through the process without reaching an agreement or the tenant refuses services, the DRC will issue you a certificate that allows you to move forward toward the eviction process in court.

 

Step 3

A landlord filing an unlawful detainer case must include an ERPP Certificate of Participation issued by the DRC, subject to any local standing order issued by the superior court.

Click here to find the ERPP contact information for your local Dispute Resolution Center.

Landlords may find useful information through the Rental Housing Association of Washington and The Multifamily Housing Association.

 
 

for Legal advisors

Find ERPP forms and legal information in on these sites:

For Rental Assistance Providers

 

The Dispute Resolution Centers welcome collaboration with rental assistance providers to help meet the needs of Washington's tenants and landlords.  Please contact your local Dispute Resolution Center with any questions.