Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced the city’s COVID-19 crisis moratorium on residential and commercial evictions will continue through at least the end of September as Seattle continues its recovery from the pandemic.
A Thursday night rally in Cal Anderson organized by the office of Councilmember Kshama Sawant to call on the City of Seattle to extend the eviction moratorium through the end of the year is still on.
The moratorium was set to end this month. Under the restrictions, Seattle and King County are covering millions of dollars in payments to landlords to cover unpaid rent. The statewide moratorium has not yet been extended.
“As the first major US city to be impacted by COVID-19, Seattle created an exemplary COVID response template for the rest of the country, which led with establishing one of the first in the nation moratoria on evictions to keep families safe. This swift and early action saved countless lives as we’ve maintained the lowest infection rate, hospitalizations, and COVID-related deaths of the top American cities while also reaching key vaccine milestones,” Durkan said in the announcement of the continued restrictions.
“We must also recognize that the economic impact of the pandemic forced many businesses to close, left far too many without jobs, and we are still responding to the fallout. While we continue to be in a state of emergency, this three-month extension will ensure we can provide the cash rental assistance and housing support that is critical to stabilizing the community as we reopen.”
First put in place at the onset of the pandemic, Seattle’s moratorium protects renters as well as small nonprofits and businesses by banning evictions for missed payments. The updated order continues to protect tenants from incurring fees due to late payments during the moratorium.
New laws are being put in place to help protect tenants once the eviction restrictions are lifted including ordinances requiring payment plan options for late rent during or within six months after the city’s COVID-19 state of emergency ends, a “financial hardship” defense for eviction court proceedings, and a ban on eviction during winter months.
District 3 representative Sawant, meanwhile, says she will lead a call for an extension of the moratorium through the end of 2021 — and more — at a rally Thursday night in Cal Anderson.
“Let’s be clear: The mayor’s announcement today is a victory for all renters,” Sawant said in a statement.
“Our movement celebrates today’s extension of the moratorium as a direct result of mass action, but we won’t stop fighting. We demanded an extension of the moratorium through the end of 2021, and will continue to fight for that.”
CHS reported here on Sawant’s celebration of recent, smaller victories for renters as she has mounted a renewed push for rent control in the city.
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