For more information about Washington State’s response to the COVID-19 situation, including current COVID-19 infection statistics, information about travel, and information for businesses and works, visit the State’s official COVID-19 response site here.
Understanding the Basics
Court Schedule Changes and Closures
Health Care and Insurance
Your Job and Coronavirus
Until further notice, the King County Family Law Information Centers in both Seattle and Kent are suspending walk-in hours and will be assisting people by phone only at the following numbers from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon:
For Kent cases call: 206-477-2781
For Seattle cases call: 206-477-2553
On Monday, February 12, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance that will significantly restrict residential evictions during the winter. Council Bill 119726, if signed by the Mayor or allowed to pass into law without her signature, will prohibit Seattle landlords from evicting low- and moderate-income tenants for unpaid rent between December 1 and March 1. The unanimous vote was only possible after amendments were added to reduce the time period, to exempt landlords managing four or fewer housing units and to restrict the scope to low- and moderate-income tenants.
Read the full text of CB 119726 here.
When or if CB 119726 becomes effective depends on whether or not Mayor Durkan chooses to veto it and is governed by SMC 1.04.020.
The QLaw Foundation of Washington is sponsoring a new, free, full-representation legal clinic called Family Matters to help LGBTQ families get legal orders affirming their legal parental relationships to the children they are raising.
Assistance will be provided by both attorneys and social workers and will vary in length depending on the family’s needs. LGBTQ families living anywhere in King County are eligible to apply. All services provided by Family Matters are free of charge.
To request help, you can complete the online registration form here or send an email to email@example.com indicating your family would like help from the Family Matters clinic.
According to a recent article in Crosscut – Legislators passed eviction protections. Washington landlords found loopholes — a new provision in the recently-revised Residential Landlord-Tenant Act may prove to be a scary prospect for month-to-month tenants.
RCW 59.18.410(3)(d) states:
“A tenant who has been served with three or more notices to pay or vacate for failure to pay rent as set forth in RCW 59.12.040 within twelve months prior to the notice to pay or vacate upon which the proceeding is based may not seek relief under this subsection (3).”
On its face, this subsection would appear to undo many of the new tenant protections put in place by the Washington Legislature. Crosscut asserts that landlords across the state have started serving pay-or-vacate notices the day after rent becomes due, often in situations where tenants have been accustomed to a short grace period. That grace period can be important for low-income tenants relying on the arrival of Social Security or other social services’ payments. Tenants who receive three such notices in a 12-month period, regardless of having made their rent payments, would not be able to take advantage of the other protections provided in RCW 59.18.410(3).
The text of ESSB 5600, as signed by the Governor, is here.
The New Hope Act (Chapter 331 of the Laws of 2019) became effective on July 28, 2019 and makes substantial changes to the rights and procedures for clearing criminal misdemeanor and felony conviction records in Washington State.
Among these changes are improved notice requirements for the Department of Corrections and the clerk of the court; the ability to vacate Assault in the second degree, Assault in the third degree when not committed against a law enforcement or peace officer, and Robbery in the second degree under specific circumstances; and the removal of restrictions based on prior vacations and the modification of restrictions based on prior restraining/protection orders.
For instructions and forms related to these new provisions, visit the New Hope Act portion of the Civil Survival web site.
Recognizing that the legal process can be confusing and intimidating, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office has an a program called the Office of Military and Veteran Legal Assistance which helps active service members and veterans find legal assistance programs.
The Office’s web site includes links to legal assistance events aimed at veterans, a register of Washington State and national legal service providers and programs, and a nation-wide index to legal assistance programs. The site also includes a link for attorneys who wish to volunteer to assistance veterans with civil legal issues.
The King County Bar Association, sponsor of the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, has posted a useful checklist for preparing to attend a session at one of their legal clinics. To make the best use of your time please:
1. Decide on the desired outcome or goal.
2. Schedule an appointment at a Neighborhood Legal Clinic.
3. Write a list of specific questions for the attorney.
4. Bring to the clinic appointment:
–Agreements or contracts (signed or proposed)
–Written rules or policies
–Court papers served on you or that you filed with the court
–All letters or emails to and from person or business with whom you have the disagreement
–Specific paperwork related to the case. For example, employee handbook, parenting plan, child support order, protection order, lease, rental agreement
5. Organize any paperwork from most recent on the top to oldest at the bottom.
6. Identify all deadlines.
7. Tell the legal clinic volunteer about these deadlines.
Remember you only have 30 minutes. Be prepared to tell the history of the legal issue to the legal clinic volunteer.
If your legal issue is vacating your criminal record please bring your Washington Access to Criminal History report.