I saw this Wall Street Journal article, but I am still struggling to understand what federal and local laws are protecting people from evictions during this pandemic?


  • A small, but important point: No federal laws are involved. Under our constitution, landlord/tenant law is a matter for state and local governments, not the feds.
    – Just a guy
    Apr 15 '20 at 4:30
  • @Justaguy, thank you, that makes sense. I wish the media was more thoughtful on how it developed its headlines.
    – Daniel
    Apr 16 '20 at 15:26

It's a law in the sense that it was ordered by someone given authority to give orders. The Washington order is here, and is more extensive that what is found in some other states (the easiest order to give is a non-enforcement order directed at sheriffs). In Washington, residential landlords also cannot serve notice of unlawful detainer, and even prohibits initiating judicial action seeking a writ of restitution for non-payment. This falls under the category of things that he can do, under the emergency powers granted to the governor by the legislature. The extent to which parties are immunized from the obligation to pay rent is quite variable.

  • thank you. Now I am wondering, okay so no evictions, but that does not stop a landlord from tacking on late fees and eventually using due process to eventually either collect past due amount or eviction once this is over, correct?
    – Daniel
    Apr 12 '20 at 19:53
  • At least so far. In Washington, 20% per month is legal.
    – user6726
    Apr 12 '20 at 20:23
  • you are saying in Washington, only paying 20% of the rent is legal meaning it is not considered late?
    – Daniel
    Apr 13 '20 at 19:12
  • No, I was addressing your late fees comment. Late fees of up to 20% are legal (I don't know what the general pattern is in the US).
    – user6726
    Apr 13 '20 at 19:31
  • Ahh okay, thank you.
    – Daniel
    Apr 14 '20 at 2:55

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