Following a series of negotiations and calls to Spokane City Council members, members voted unanimously to fix a critical problem in their new landlord/tenant ordnance that is preventing bad tenants from being evicted.
The issue surrounds the new procedures required by the city in how and when evictions can be done. Known by property managers as the city’s 18.08 rules, property managers must follow a process called the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) that diverts tenant/landlord disputes to a mediation process before going to court. It’s required by the new city law.
There was only one catch. The ERPP Program ended July 1st.
Landlords are now stuck with bad tenants they cannot remove, because the mandatory program needed to evict has ceased to exist.
“It may not occur to you as an emergency, but we are COMPLETELY PARALYZED as landlords and it is AN ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY that you pass an ordinance, effective immediately, that cooperates with the elimination of the ERPP program,” wrote Spokane REALTOR® Dezda Finn in her letter to the city. Finn manages about 250 units in the City of Spokane. Many of her properties are “Mom and Pop” operations, meaning they only own one or two properties. “I can tell you, THIS is the WORST JOB EVER. I hate it. But eviction is an absolute necessity when that is the very LAST RESORT,” wrote Finn.
In Seattle and Portland, rental housing advocates say roughly 8% of these owners have sold their properties back into single family ownership. Finn fears a failure to act will result in more of the same here in Spokane, adding “If we cannot rely on the formal court eviction process, we are going to see even less housing inventory as more and more landlords sell their rental property simply due to the mere inability to support another family that is not their own in addition to their own obligations.”
The move goes into effect immediately.