At this week's annual meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates, the King County Bar Assocciation (KCBA) successfully sponsored the adoption of new ABA policy, encouraging governments to provide rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new ABA policy urges federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments to address the pandemic eviction and housing crisis and its collateral harm affecting all participants in the rental markets: tenants, landlords and lenders, by (1) providing public funds specifically allocated for rental assistance, to be paid directly to rental property owners, in those instances where tenants are facing economic hardship arising from the pandemic, and (2) precluding in tenant screening practices the use of nonpayment of rent or eviction records that occur during a particular jurisdiction's COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency in the 90 days immediately following the lifting of such emergency.
In urging passage by the ABA, KCBA President John McKay cited the “gathering storm of pandemic induced homelessness and impending economic disaster for both renters and landlords,” without additional government support. KCBA’s Housing Justice Project, like other programs serving low income communities, has experienced increased in need for legal assistance and emergency grant funds administered in it’s “Home Base” program sponsored by Seattle Mariners, United Way and Microsoft.
The King County Bar Association was the resolution's lead sponsor to the ABA House of Delegates and was joined by resolution co-sponsors: the ABA Task Force on the Pandemic, and the ABA Real Property Trust & Estate Section.