Small Business Tenants Behind in Rent

Restaurant door with person standing just inside

The following resources have been compiled to help support and sustain small business owners who may be facing income shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Local Assistance Programs

Do You Need Financial Assistance?

Kirkland’s (re)StartUp425 Business Response Team can help connect small businesses and commercial landlords to funding sources and other financial support related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Language assistance available. For help, contact: or call (206) 324-4330 or visit the (re)Startup425 website. 

The King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance program has over $200 million in assistance available for households impacted by Covid-19 due to illness, loss of income, or unemployment. To apply, visit here.  If you need language assistance: Please contact 206-477-1331 

Legal Services and Other Assistance

Communities Rise offers legal assistance and COVID-19 related assistance to small business owners and nonprofit and community-based organizations.

Conflict Resolution Services 

The Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center (BCRC) offers mediation assistance related to conflict resolution including eviction resolution. The service is available in multiple languages to Eastside businesses seeking conflict resolution with their commercial landlords. Please fill out the landlord/tenant rent negotiation intake form or contact us at 425-452-4091 or to make an appointment with a conciliator. Interpretation services provided as needed.

Homebased Business Assistance

The City of Kirkland is partnering with community-based organizations to provide rent and mortgage assistance for residents. Email or (425) 587-3326

Вы арендатор или арендодатель и нуждаетесь в финансовой помощи? У вас есть право претендовать на получение жилищной поддержки. Информация о социальном страховании не требуется. Если вы говорите по-русски, то для получения помощи на русском языке звоните по телефону (425) 289-6805.

您是正在寻求财务资助的租户或房东吗?您可能有资格获得住房援助。不需要提供社会安全信息。如果您会说普通话,请致电 (425) 289-6805 获取普通话帮助。

¿Es inquilino o propietario de vivienda y necesita asistencia económica? Puede calificar para apoyo de vivienda. No se necesita información del Seguro Social. Si habla español, llame/envíe un mensaje de texto al (425) 891-0345 para obtener ayuda en español.

Você é um inquilino ou proprietário em busca de ajuda financeira? Você pode estar qualificado para apoio habitacional. As informações do seguro social não são necessárias. Se você fala português, ligue/envie mensagem de texto para (425) 891-0345 para obter ajuda em português.

Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center: Are you behind in rent, or think you may be soon? Are you a landlord or tenant looking for help working out repayment options? The Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center is here to help and is available for Kirkland residents. Information is available in multiple languages and interpretation services are provided as needed. To find out more, please call the Conflict Resolution Center at 425-452-4091, or visit the Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center webpage. 

Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP): If you are facing housing-related challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and you cannot afford a lawyer, the Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) may be able to help. ELAP provides non-criminal legal services to Kirkland residents facing eviction and other housing-related legal issues. ELAP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people faced with domestic violence, housing, financial, healthcare, immigration and other issues that need a legal solution. To find out if you qualify, visit: or call 425-747-7274.  


The City of Kirkland has extended the eviction moratorium until September 30, 2021. Landlords are not allowed to file an eviction for non-payment of rent. This moratorium does not remove the requirement for tenants to pay rent. There is financial assistance available for tenants and landlords. Please do not wait until the moratorium ends to seek assistance. These programs are available to help with unpaid and future rent now. 

The King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance program has over $200 million in assistance available for households impacted by Covid-19 due to illness, loss of income, or unemployment. To apply, visit here.  If you need language assistance: Please contact 206-477-1331


If you currently face foreclosure and need a resource to help navigate the process, FREE housing counseling and civil legal aid for income-qualified individuals and families are currently available by contacting the Washington Homeownership Resource Center. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. To contact the Center, visit their website at, or call toll free 1–877–894-4663. Online contact:

Mortgage forbearance is available for household income impacted by Covid-19. If you want to talk to a housing counselor, call the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1(877) 894-HOME. For mediation, foreclosure prevent, and forbearance options, visit the WA Department of Financial Institutions.

Legal Assistance:

Resources for Landlords

  • Limited Landlord Relief Program: Low-income landlords can receive up to 80% of unpaid rents from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021
  • Landlord Covid-19 Relief Programs: Landlords can receive up to $15,000 for unpaid rents from March 1, 2020 through December 31st, 2021 for tenants who have defaulted on a repayment plan or vacated the unit without being evicted by court order.
  • Tenant Preservation Program: Provides court-approved zero-interest loans to tenants to satisfy a judgment awarded to the landlord during an eviction for non-payment of rent and up to three months of future rents.
  • Landlord Damage Relief Program Landlords can receive up to $5,000 for repairs made to damage caused by a subsidized tenant and up to $1,000 plus up to 14 days of rent loss for making repairs required to pass an HQS inspection for subsidy.
  • The City of Kirkland may provide assistance for landlords with tenants behind in rent or have questions about the extended moratorium/protections in place. Email or (425) 587-3326.  

State Assistance Programs

Small Business Flex Fund: Washington State

NEW: Small Business Flex Fund Loan Program

Small business owners and nonprofits across Washington can apply for low interest loans of up to $150,000 through the newly-launched Small Business Flex Fund. The Fund is a public-private partnership aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits – particularly those in low-income communities – recover and grow as communities across the state reopen for business. Interested applicants pre-apply on the Flex Fund’s online portal and, if they qualify, will be matched with a lender. 

Federal Assistance Programs


The Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is open for applications through December 31, 2021. This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Please contact our Business Response Team for technical assistance applying for an EIDL loan, for rules governing use of funds and all other help. Contact our Business Response Team for help. 

SBA PPP Forgivable Loan

New applications to the Small Business Association (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are now closed. However, proceeds from PPP loans may be used by recipients to cover cash flow losses and pay for cost of operations including rent. Please contact our Business Response Team for details on the use of PPP forgivable loan proceeds to cover rent arears, and/or to apply for forgiveness for your PPP loan.

SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund

New applications to the Small Business Association (SBA) Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) are now closed. However, proceeds from the RRF may be used by recipients to business rent except for pre-payment of rent. Please contact our Business Response Team for details on the use of RRF loan proceeds to cover rent arears.

Mitigating Rent Arears for Commercial Landlords and Tenants

The COVID-19 pandemic created cash flow problems for small business owners and as a result many are behind on rent payments. Rent arears can also cause cash flow problems for commercial landlords, particularly if there is a mortgage on the building in questions which needs to be services. There are no winners in this situation. Please contact our Business Response Team for FREE help with funding solutions. What follows are some suggestions for tenants experiencing rent arears, and rental mitigation strategies for commercial businesses and landlords to consider ( 

Suggestions for Tenant Responses to Rent Arears

  • Review your lease to see if your rent is simply base rent or it includes pass-through expenses. How much are these expenses and are they set to increase?
  • When does your lease end? What renewal options are available?
  • What constitutes a default of the lease? What tools are available to the landlord in such a case (penalties, eviction, interest, etc.)?
  • Does your landlord hold a security deposit? If so, how much is it?
  • Review operating covenants and co-tenancy.
  • Speak to your insurance agent to see what coverages are maintained by each party. Know your options to file a claim under existing insurance.
  • Does the lease include a force majeure clause, excusing a party's performance due to outside circumstances?
  • Explore governmental relief programs for tax relief, access to loans, relaxed restrictions/regulations, etc.
  • Consider consulting a lawyer to know your options in limiting your financial obligations.
  • Based on your current financial position, understand what concessions you would need from your landlord in both best- and worst-case scenarios related to COVID-19.
  • Contact your landlord and specifically outline how your business is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrange a meeting and be prepared with data to have an open conversation to identify a solution or combination of solutions. 
  • For additional tenant resources, please visit the City of Kirkland’s COVID-19 Resources page for businesses.

Rental Mitigation Strategies for Commercial Tenants and Landlords

  • Rent Reduction: The landlord can reduce the tenant's rent for a portion or all of the term left on the lease. The usual forms of rent reduction are to reduce the base rent, operating expenses, or both. In regard to retail, it is possible to convert base rent to percentage rent;
  • Rent Deferral: In this case, the landlord can defer a portion of the tenant's rent but would require them to repay the rent deferred at a later time, either in a lump sum or by increasing subsequent payments. A variation of rent deferral could be to cap or set a base year to operating expenses for a short or extended period of time.
  • Rent Abatement/Forgiveness: If a tenant is significantly past due on rent payments, a landlord may agree to forgive a certain amount of the past due rent if the tenant remains current thereafter.
  • Loan Conversion: Rather than abating past due rent, a landlord may agree to convert the past due rent into a loan payable over time. The tenant would, however, continue to pay the current rent. The loan is then evidenced by a promissory note that is cross-defaulted with the lease;
  • Application of Deposit: If the landlord holds a deposit, this amount could be credited against the tenant's current obligations;
  • Subletting: Bringing in a new tenant (for part of or all of the rented space) could reduce or eliminate the rent obligations while replacing revenue for the landlord