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Seattle City Council approves Sawant’s ban on winter evictions

The Seattle City Council on Monday approved a ban on winter evictions. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a ban on winter evictions Monday, however, the legislation is different than the original proposal made by Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

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After lengthy debate and several amendments, the council proudly approved the proposal to allow renters to avoid evictions in the winter. While her original proposal was watered down, Sawant called it an historic victory.

“At the end of the day what we have is landmark legislation that has no precedent in the country,” Sawant said. “So this is huge.”

Among the changes to the bill are exemptions for small landlords, limiting the protection to only moderate-income households, and shortening the window of protection to December to February.

A cadre of supporters voiced their thoughts on the measure during the public comment period Monday.

“Our housing an homelessness crisis has no end in sight — halting winter evictions is the least we could do,” one commenter said.

“People are dying in the street every day, because they get thrown out by landlords,” said another.

Not everyone was in favor, though, with many landlords speaking out themselves.

“This winter eviction legislation — even with amendments — is not the way to solve evictions,” said a landlord during public comments.

“We need to consider the unintended consequences of people being hurt, especially the small mom-and-pop landlords,” another pointed out.

King County saw approximately 3,200 evictions in 2017, with more than 85 percent of them filed for nonpayment of rent, and more than half involving the nonpayment of one month’s rent or less, according to The Seattle Times.

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