Washington governor signs eviction “right to counsel” bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a “right to counsel” measure that makes Washington the first state to ensure that low-income tenants have legal representation when faced with an eviction. The new law will provide attorneys to tenants who receive certain public assistance, have been involuntarily committed to a public mental health facility, can’t afford a lawyer or who have incomes at 125% or less of the federal poverty level. Several cities, including Seattle, have passed right to counsel laws, and seven other states are considering similar measures. More than 160,000 Washington households are estimated to be behind on rent as of late March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, nearly 11% of households renting in the state.