Seattle takes another shot at renter protections after failed eviction moratorium extension
Post-Seattle’s eviction moratorium, the Seattle City Council has once again taken up the mantle of renters’ rights. Yet this time, the effort is not spearheaded by Councilmember Kshama Sawant; Dan Strauss brought together a bill that would set new requirements on the repayment of unpaid rent accrued during the COVID civil emergency.
Technically, the legislation would amend an existing ordinance around repayment: currently, landlords are required to negotiate six-month repayment plans with their tenants. This amendment gives tenants more flexibility, defined as a “reasonable schedule” and “establishes a defense to eviction if a repayment plan that conforms with the new requirements is not offered.”
“There was a vision of a six-month repayment plan initially, at that point, we were only a couple of months into the pandemic. There wasn’t anticipation that there would be substantially multiple years of rent being accrued,” Strauss said Friday.
“It’s a modest and technical correction … the state has already passed this legislation. This is bringing our city’s laws in line with the state’s.”
The legislation passed out of committee and will be heard in front of the complete council on April 26.
In February, the Seattle City Council struck down a proposed extension of the eviction moratorium on a 3-5 margin: Kshama Sawant, Teresa Mosqueda, and Lisa Herbold were the lone votes in favor of the extension.
Seattle has seen a decline in the number of rental properties registered with the City of Seattle, a figure of roughly 3,000 properties lost over the last year.