In 2021, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington State Legislature enacted many new landlord-tenant laws. Evictions in Washington State are called Unlawful Detainers.
One of the new laws provides that low-income tenants shall be appointed a free attorney to represent them during Unlawful Detainer proceedings. Tenants must be screened to determine eligibility for an appointed attorney.
To screen for appointed counsel in Kitsap County, tenants should:
(1) Contact Kitsap Legal Services at EvictionDefense@KitsapLegalServices.org or 360-479-6125;
(2) Contact the Eviction Defense hotline at 1-855-657-8387; or
(3) Connect with Kitsap Legal Services during a Zoom meeting for tenant screening on Friday mornings at 9:00 am. (Zoom Meeting ID: 815-2621-4548 / Passcode: 651681 (KLS-hosted)).
Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP)
The Legislature also created an Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) for evictions based on non-payment of rent in which the eviction notice was given on or before June 30, 2023. The goal of the program is to bring all parties together with trained resolution specialists to explore solutions such as available State and local rental assistance, or achievable payment plans that could help tenants retain their housing and divert their situations from the legal eviction process. In Kitsap County, the ERPP was implemented by Standing Order on August 18, 2021. The Order was subsequently amended on April 5, 2022, December 7, 2022, and June 13, 2023. While the statute underlying the ERPP expired on June 30, 2023 formally ending the program, parties in Kitsap County who were in the ERPP before July 1, 2023 have until September 30, 2023 to complete the mediation process.