WBPA Files Legal Challenge to WA State Eviction Resolution Pilot Program
For Immediate Release: July 26, 2022
Media Contact: Comms@thewbpa.org - 360.205.2345
SPOKANE… The recently implemented Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) may have sounded like a good idea when adopted by the state Legislature this year. However, a new lawsuit filed this past Thursday in Spokane County Superior Court by the Washington Business Properties Association (WBPA) points out the undefined process is jeopardizing access to the justice system for housing providers and tenants.
“We firmly believe that while well-intentioned, this process shuts off access to the justice system with convoluted, ill-defined rules and an unrealistic process controlled by unaccountable third parties,” said Chester Baldwin, CEO of the Washington Business Properties Association.
“The state Supreme Court has been clear that access to the courts is a fundamental right and what the Legislature has done is put up arbitrary barriers to the justice system for housing providers.”
At issue is how eviction cases are being diverted into a quasi-judicial, non-binding process that requires a certification by a private, third-party mediator before actual legal proceedings can begin in an unlawful detainer action.
“Our state is facing a myriad of challenges when it comes to housing access and affordability. This process is making it worse, driving up rents and driving out providers,” Baldwin added. “The justice system should not have a private gatekeeper making this crisis worse.”
The Washington Business Properties Association is requesting that the court issue a declaration that the certification process for the eviction prevention pilot program is unconstitutional.
One housing provider sent a 14-day notice to vacate and ERPP forms in April and still has not received a certificate allowing them to appear before a court. “It’s these kinds of costly and unconstitutional delays that must stop,” Baldwin said.
You can read the court filings by clicking here.