COVID-19 Rent Assistance and Housing Information

Rent Assistance

If you are at risk of eviction due to past due rent owed since February 29, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your landlord have two options: rent assistance and a new eviction resolution pilot program. 

Landlords cannot issue eviction notices for past due rent owed from February 29, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic unless all three of these things are true:* 

  • There is an open, operational rent assistance program in your county. (Directory links below.)
  • There is an open, operational eviction resolution program in your county. (Directory link below.)
  • Your landlord has attempted to work with you to apply for assistance through one or both of these programs.  

The Office of the Attorney General can assist with COVID-19 eviction complaints. You can contact them here.

Find Eviction Rent Assistance in Your County

Rent assistance funded by Commerce is provided through local housing providers in your community. You can find a list of providers in the links below. 

Please note that not all counties have open, operational programs yet – this is due to administrative constraints, not due to lack of funding. 

List of County Eviction Rent Assistance Program Providers
List of Youth and Young Adult Eviction Rent Assistance Program Providers

Each county must operate an eviction resolution pilot program that works with landlords and tenants to resolve eviction-related issues.* These programs are operated through Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) around the state. You can find a directory of DRCs here.  

*These provisions are part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 21-09 issued June 29, 2021.

Washington State Limited Landlord Relief Program offers owners of four or fewer rental units/properties that make less than the Family Median Income the ability to recuperate up to 80% of the unpaid rental payments in qualifying circumstances. This program is limited to pay no more than $2,000,000 in claims. Learn More

Commerce also administers additional relief programs for landlords to help with damage repairs, tenancy preservation loans and COVID relief.

Resources Are Available To Help With Other Costs - Call 2-1-1 For Information

The pandemic has left many people in Washington with unexpected bills and costs. You are not alone. Call 2-1-1 to speak with someone who can connect you to programs that help individuals pay for things like rent, food, broadband and more. 

Visit the Washington 2-1-1 website.

Summary of Rent Assistance as of June 22, 2021

The Washington State Department of Commerce has been administering COVID-19 emergency rent assistance since last summer. To administer these programs, Commerce contracts with counties. Counties work with local service providers to process applications, manage documentation and reporting, and issue payments to landlords. 

Either landlords or tenants can contact their local rent assistance providers, though both play a role in the process. Payments are made directly to landlords. Counties must also offer dispute resolution services for tenants and landlords. 

Over 28,000 households have received rent assistance through the end of May 2021. An estimated 80,000 households will receive assistance through June 2023. 

The median rent in Washington state is $1,200.

Federal Census data reported up to 13% of renters in Washington state were behind in rent payment in early 2021. However, that number dropped to around 8% in May 2021. Before the pandemic, this number ranged from 3-5%.

Below is a summary of COVID-19 rent assistance provided to date. These figures reflect what counties have billed to Commerce for reimbursement, not total rent assistance paid to landlords. There is frequently a lag – sometimes as much as two months – between when a county issues rent assistance payments and when counties bill Commerce for reimbursement.

 
Fund SourceProgram NameTimelineAwardBilled to Commerce as of June 22, 2021
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) 2020 direct funding to Washington stateEviction Rent Assistance Program (ERAP)August 2020 – June 2021$110M$98.3M
State Disaster Response Account FundsAugust 2020 – June 2021$43.5M$16.3M
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA)Treasury Rent Assistance Program (TRAP 1.0)March 2021 – September 2022$322.1M$11.9M
CARES Act direct funding to Washington stateMarch 2021 -December 2021$30M$361k
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – Emergency Rental Assistance FundsAmerican Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – Emergency Rental Assistance Funds (TRAP 2.0)July 2021 – September 2025$255M(Program begins July 2021)
ARPA Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery FundJuly 2021 – December 2024$403M(Program begins July 2021)

Click the link above for emergency housing grants and grantee guidance responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that COVID-19 is a health-related issue, and the best guidance is available on the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website and through guidance issued by your local public health department. DOH also offers COVID-19 educational materials in 26 languages. If you expect exposure to COVID-19, please follow DOH and Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements and guidelines. For guidance on how to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 in homeless shelter settings, please see Commerce’s interim guidance.