Post navigation

Prev: (05/04/20) | Next: (05/05/20)

Seattle’s ‘Eviction Defense for Renters’ hoped to give tenants added protection during COVID-19 economic fallout

Seattle has put a so-called “Eviction Defense for Renters” in place to protect tenants for six months after the state’s ban on evictions during the COVID-19 crisis is eventually lifted.

The Seattle City Council bill from president M. Lorena González addresses what comes after the state and city’s moratorium on evictions is lifted and provides “a defense a tenant may use for six months should a landlord take their tenant to eviction court” and establishes that renters can use “non-payment of rent for any reason as a defense to eviction, as long as they submit a declaration of financial hardship to the court,” an announcement on the bill’s passage reads.

“After the immediate health crisis is over, we know the economic ripple effects will be felt for some time. Tenants who have lost their jobs or seen their income significantly dropped during this pandemic need time to find their way back to economic stability. This legislation provides tenants recovering from this crisis an additional six months of housing stability through an added defense in eviction proceedings after the city’s eviction moratorium ends,” González said after the unanimous vote to pass the bill Monday afternoon.

“Tenants may use this defense if needed, but this bill does not release renters of their contractual obligations to pay their monthly rent. If you are a tenant who can afford to pay your rent in full, you absolutely should.”

The day’s session of the council as it continues to meet virtually via a video conference call system during the outbreak was a parliamentary “ordeal,” reports Seattle City Council Insight and included more than an hour of public comment before the vote, mostly from independent landlords asking for an exemption for buildings and houses held by smaller property owners.

“I hate evictions,” one said. “They’re an absolute last resort but an important tool for housing providers when all else fails.”

Dana Frank, part of a family with holdings across the Central District and Capitol Hill, said the result of eviction restrictions will be to further erode smaller landlords and undo her family’s decades of work.

“I’m astounded that our efforts to fight red lining and get funding are being attacked by a self-proclaimed group for rent strikes and eviction bans,” Frank said.

“If we are denied rent the properties will lack funding, repairs will not be seen. The long-term effect of the ban and rent strike is we would be forced to sell to giant investment groups and would wipe out efforts and any my ability to pass my legacy to my children and their future.”

Despite the concerns, an amendment to exempt landlords with four or fewer units failed.

The new legislation will create payment plans during the COVID-19 crisis and six months afterwards for tenants to use “on a specific installment schedule towards becoming current on overdue rent and meeting their contractual obligations,” according to the council’s statement on the bill’s passage. “This legislation was modeled after ‘best practices’ currently used by landlords and tenants,” the statement reads.

BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

46 thoughts on “Seattle’s ‘Eviction Defense for Renters’ hoped to give tenants added protection during COVID-19 economic fallout

  1. Was in process of renting out MIL apt on craigslist since self employed and less income, but this provides almost no protection against moving someone in who stops paying and refuses to leave. Exactly who is going to rent out a property under these conditions ? Not even any protection if it’s part of your primary residence. So apt sits empty.

    • Also, someone moved into the apartment across the hall from me two days ago. Apparently my building doesn’t think it’s that much of an issue. Even with tenants on rent strike as well. I think renters have much more to worry about.

      • If I had many apts I could absorb the loss, with renter living below me I’m paying all utils and property tax for 6months with a potential for zero income. So one less affordable unit available until city figures this out.

      • I guess real estate wasn’t the best investment for you. If you didn’t own the extra property, you would only be paying tax on what you live in, and what you could afford on the merits of your own hard work. If you’re relying on the rent of your tenants to pay for the basic obligations of being a landowner, and you have no other sources of income, I would say cut your losses and move somewhere cheaper.

      • Maybe you could apply for relief funds through the United Way? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Considering our economy is 70% consumer spending, I would say the government should just freeze all rent and mortgages to limit consumer burden, but conservatives don’t seem to like that. I’m just a socialist living in the wealthiest country in one of the wealthiest cities, what do I know?

      • “Also, someone moved into the apartment across the hall from me two days ago. Apparently my building doesn’t think it’s that much of an issue. ”

        Yes, because an apartment building and a MIL within someone’s primary residence are the same thing.

        Complete failure of a comment.

      • There was more of the thread on here before…@Blah said “yes and Dogs are Cats, and Apples are Oranges” (paraphrasing), and I said “Let me put it simpler” and went on to rag on landlords about sucking up resources like a certain animal. Just curious, was this censored by CHS? And if so, why? People call Kshama a Trotskyist pinko Putin asset on every single city council piece written, but landlords can’t be called leeches when they are? Not dissing the individual, just the profession. I hope it’s not due to advertiser influence…I know there’s some SALTY landlords that comment on here about how unfair life is right now…

  2. The poor are worked to death in system that only funnels wealth upwards and when shit hits the fan the people who did all that work are just thrown to the dogs. Long before this pandemic ever even happened it was already true… Seattle needs a City Funded Cash Rental Assistance Program to ensure the smooth functioning of our capitalist economy that we KNOW will find itself in these situations. Our society actively pursues an economic system that has absolutely no plan at all for citizens without the means to deal with it when it fails. And we know it fails at times. It has failed at times since forever. And we know that. And if you study economics there are known issues with Capitalism and we know that… Yet we proceed with no plan for a gigantic portion of our society…. How fucking stupid is that?

  3. Meanwhile, we have certain Seattle citizens who are preoccupied with calling Kshama a “Trotskyist” because she wants to tax Amazon. Capitalism creates consumers not innovators, and stupid is as stupid does.

    • Are you seriously implying that the United States hasn’t innovated? What’s wrong with you? Is your sense of history really that warped? Or are you just intentionally spreading disinformation?

      • All US innovation is tied to former or current government subsidies and/or research at its base level.

        The free market is a laughable fantasy to help Capitalists sleep at night. Capitalism is purely a formula to be utilized and HEAVILY regulated; to generate profit when needed in certain lagging sectors of our economy. U go reed moar now

        “The price is wrong, Bob!” -Karl Marx

  4. @GG Palin should move to a commune instead of suffering as much as they do.

    At least some folks were trying to rent out a MIL apartment to help the housing shortage. What has GG Palin done? Nothing. All talk and drivel.

    • Help the housing shortage or have someone pay your mortgage for you? Ownership entitlement in our new land of fucked renters is nuts. Try pretending you don’t own a roof of your own and you don’t make well over $100k a year.

  5. Sad that @Blah never benefited enough from a public education to decipher the obvious differences between Communism and Socialism. I knew the American public education system has been failing people due to an insane lack of tax funding, but if you were educated in Seattle, what’s your excuse? Were you home schooled by Milton Friedman?

    And meanwhile, you’re literally comparing what someone in the working class has contributed societally to what a “self employed” landlord has contributed? All drivel would be too gracious for your dumbass

      • Solidarity Comrade! Down with Bourgeoisie land owners!

        Move to a socialist or communist country, there are enough of them, and stop trying to change the US to fit your failed ideology. Pathetic.

      • No one here wants to change America to anything it’s not bound to become already. Capitalism will inevitably fail, critically and irreversibly. What replaces it will either look more like socialism, or more like Mad Max–depending on how many people stand up and unite against the premise that they will always be exploited.

        Capitalism is responsible for vastly more death and destruction than both Socialism and Communism combined throughout all of history…soooo keep reaching Jon but you might need more of an education to stand on.

  6. Meh, Seattle primarily and Washington have spoken. The people want the end of the independent rental property owner. Welcome multi-national residential property conglomerates, Private equity, and socialized housing. Not sure who is going to pay for all the socialized housing. For those of us who still have property, rent to family, friends, referrals. Those with the best jobs and credit will enjoy affordable units from landlords with mutual respect. Independent property owners who can navigate the crazy state & local legislation will enjoy a nice phat retirement payday from the developer or a private equity fund. elected’s will try and force us to sell to them but private property rights and the Constitution should still provide enough protection. Never thought I would say this, GOP pack those courts with young conservative judges.

    • IDK what would make you think Seattle would become any different than SF or NYC as long as property speculation exists as an investment vehicle. The market has long been saturated and over-exploited thanks to WA state’s lack of corporate accountability, on top of STILL NO RENT CONTROL. Neo-liberalism is why we are here, but that’s just backwards-ass austerity policies masquerading as fiscal sensibility. GOP courts would just approve outright fascist policies antithetical to the survival the working class. Nice mask, I think it may have slipped off

      • Rent control will be just another reason to not rent out property or target more transient groups like visiting medical professionals, None of your ideas will help with affordability, it will just make landlords be more selective.

      • The genius of rent control, is that it gives renters another choice that is below market value, so landlords can continue to be as fickle as they like. They just have to compete in a market with more affordable options for renters, so hopefully that property investment works out for them I guess. But as tenants become less desperate, landlords will need to become more accommodating to compete, or face the prospect of being wiped out by a superior product…fair and equitable housing!

    • We are. These libs and socialists are becoming fewer and fewer and I personally love watching them cannibalize their own. Want to really trigger them….let them know Trump will win again in 2020. We all know he will. Why? Because, THANKFULLY, liberalism DOES have a cure because more and more libs are jumping ship FOR THIS VERY REASON. Libs are the reason Venezuela exists and no one with half a brain would want that life.

      • I’m anti-liberalism too, Stacey! And that’s precisely why I’m Socialist. Trump probably will win unfortunately because Neoliberalism is a sham and so is Biden, but COVID (and helpful people like yourself) may actually be the reason Biden wins anyway. Most citizens just want normal back at least, and you don’t seem to fit into that picture of society anywhere, quite frankly.

        Ever thought you might be a changeling? Lol or wait let me guess…are you….Q?! Say it ain’t so Q! You bungled the Maduro assassination attempt!!!

    • Well then, enjoy your tent in your parent’s backyard…but then that probably wouldn’t happen as we all know that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In other words, your parents raised another mouth breather who has no ability to provide for himself and must lean on others who have worked, sacrificed and saved to buy investment property. Do share with us, IDIOT, where exactly people of your ilk would reside because the world, EVERYONE, knows that there will always be individuals such as yourself who spend outside your income, have super horrible credit, and pretty much want everyone BUT THEMSELVES to provide for them. So again, Einstein, without these homeowners…where exactly would your useless ass reside? Oh, that’s right….A TENT. Oh, BTW, I’m a renter.

  7. And last, please share your first and last names James and GG. I’m sure your landlords would LOVE to know that you think they are scum. Ohhhhh….afraid to use your names? Gee, if you are so passionate about screwing over someone and not upholding your end of a contract I would think that you would feel entirely in the right so should have no problem stepping out from the protection of your computers. Hilarious, you and your ilk are like Antifa…sooooo confident that you are in the right…you HIDE BEHIND MASKS. No worries. Your names will be posted and no one..EVER…will rent to you. You may want to start working on your credit scores. May take you a decade…but hey, at least you are not forced in to SIGNING A CONTRACT with a scumbag. SCUMBAGS. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when all these moratoriums end as it would be super entertaining to watch libtard degenerates lives crumble. ENJOY YOUR TENTS!!!! Bawaaaaahhhhahahahhhaaaa!!! 😂😝👍🏻

  8. So, if a renter doesn’t pay rent for 6 months or more, and avoids eviction because of this legislation, he/she is eventually going to have a helluva bill to pay. Or never pay, which is more likely, and the landlord is screwed. Not fair at all!

    And, no, I am not a landlord.

    • Bob, no one deserves undue financial hardship, especially during times of crisis. Whatever tenant protections that arise out of this pandemic, I can guarantee you landlords will have equal or better. Last time I checked we are still a global capitalist superpower, and our government loves nothing more than to bail out businesses over people. The PPP debacle has highlighted this perversion. If rent gets cancelled, it’s only going to be because mortgage payments were frozen too, because banks make much more money from property owners than they do individual workers (who barely make enough to properly use a bank). Renters are hurting much more than it seems many homeowners realize.

  9. Have lots of extra room. Would love to rent a portion of my home at fair prices.

    I have avoided it and will continue to avoid it until I’m standing in line at a food bank rather than chance rental to someone who’d be in my home and not pay their agreed upon share.

    I’ve been homeless. I’ve been hungry. I empathize but I also worked long and hard to get to my current station. Screw those that think they don’t have to do the same.


    • The obvious solution was to allow eviction from units within a primary. These are probably the cheapest rentals, but the city doesn’t care to help renters, just grandstand.

      And where is the moratorium on paying property tax for 6 months ?

  10. I usually rent one of my rooms in my downtown condo but with this,I would only rent it out to someone who has a stable job such as Amazon or other tech or science.

    I would it rather sit empty.

  11. Lol, Dana Frank was my last landlord. I find it funny that she mentioned repairs. In my ten years renting from her on 19th Ave nothing got fixed unless the city of Seattle was called. And yes I did have to call the city. She would ignore voicemails, letters sent with rent checks, text messages. All she cared about was collecting the rent. When I moved out in February there was still water damage from an incident a year ago that she came out to see personally, but never fixed. I guess the trade off was cheap rent. A three bedroom for $2080 was a good deal and there’s a pool yay.

  12. Is owning 100 homes a small landlord? Doesn’t owning so many homes In Seattle as rentals help increase the price of homes in the Seattle area?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.