A Seattle conservative radio show host’s attempt to take on mayoral candidate and Capitol Hill apartment resident Andrew Grant Houston over unpaid rent has backfired.
Pundit Jason Rantz targeted the “divest SPD” candidate with an article based on email from Houston’s landlord detailing more than $20,000 in back rent at the unnamed Capitol Hill building Houston calls home.
The gist: Houston’s campaign has raised more than $400,000 for his longshot bid for the mayor’s office largely from the success of its efforts to collect Democracy Vouchers while the candidate has reportedly failed to pay rent.
The unpaid rent is just as likely to garner support for Houston as it is scorn. Turns out, Houston is a lot like thousands of other renters in Seattle who have struggled to make ends meet. Continue reading →
Capitol Hill and Central District property owners with renters struggling to pay during the ongoing economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis could be eligible to receive financial assistance as the first phase of King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Programbegins. The first phase is starting with landlords with five or more units with tenants in need of assistance:
Outreach to landlords, property managers, and property owners is underway now, and enrollment of properties will happen over the next three weeks. Information for property signup is available on the EPRAP Landlord page.
Individuals and families living in properties signed up and approved for the program will be covered for rental assistance and will not have to apply independently in May.
By mid-May, the second phase including property owners with five or fewer units kicks in. Continue reading →
Capitol Hill Station’s Park luxury apartment building will provide its tenants with plenty of Cal Anderson views (Image: Live Capitol Hill Station)
One quarter of the first batch of units in the new Capitol Hill Station mixed-use development have been leased, as of early this month, according to the complex’s general manager.
The major project above the light rail transit station has been seen as a key development for the neighborhood creating hundreds of new homes and thousands of square feet of new commercial space on Broadway. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed construction but the new, mostly “market-rate” apartments are finally hitting that market.
110 affordable units in the Station House development on the northeast area above the station opened earlier this year and faced high demand.
More than two years after the project’s groundbreaking across the street from Cal Anderson Park, which included a ribbon cutting from Mayor Jenny Durkan, the leasing process on the first 94 units of 400-plus on Broadway started in mid-September amid the coronavirus pandemic, general manager Kristin Lipp told CHS. Continue reading →
King County hopes a $41 million program to help renters and both large-scale and small, individual landlords can help stave off eviction for between 7,000 and 10,000 low income households during the COVID-19 crisis.
Executive Dow Constantine announced the rental assistance and eviction prevention proposal for “individual tenants, large and small property managers and landlords, and mobile home parks” Thursday and the county is taking feedback on the plan through the end of the month before rolling it out.
The county proposal includes four categories of funding to address “several approaches to serve as many households as possible, as quickly as possible” — Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Complaints filed with the city against developers of a Broadway apartment building illustrate a growing tension for Capitol Hill renters, landlords, and tenants across Seattle over new “smart lock” and home automation technology.
Patent 523 tenants say in June Essex Property Trust informed them by email that a SmartRent system was to be implemented at the Broadway apartment complex.
SmartRent is a home automation company that develops software and hardware for home owners, property managers and renters.. The application system acts as a control on smart home functions from a centralized application, including but not limited to heating, rent payment, and key code entry to a house or apartment. Continue reading →
Between 2010 and 2018 average rent in the Seattle area rose 69% while inflation in the same region rose just over 20%.
This is a statistic that came up time and again Monday night at City Hall as Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant released a draft of her controversial rent control proposal that would tie increased rents to the rate of inflation.
“That’s unjust,” Rev. Angela Ying, senior pastor at Bethany United Church of Christ, said at a press conference before the hearing after citing the stat. “That is just plain unjust.”
The unveiling came at a council committee meeting her office has been planning for months as the incumbent’s bid for reelection has made rent control a rallying cry. No other committee members or city council members attended the Monday night special session.
Rent control was the topic on everyone’s mind at All Pilgrims Christian Church in Capitol Hill Saturday night as Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant’s office and other local organizations hosted a rally to build momentum for the controversial — and currently illegal — policy.
But Sawant was nowhere to be found.
The Socialist Alternative council member who is facing a contentious reelection campaign for her District 3 seat excused herself from the event because of the threat of an ethics complaint for participating in a political rally after ballots have dropped for the August 6 primary.
Several of Sawant’s challengers for the seat criticized her in the lead-in to the rally for holding council-related events so close to the August 6th Election Day.
“Kshama is clearly using her city office to advance her political campaign by holding a city-sponsored rally and promoting it with her campaign,” entrepreneur and D3 candidate Logan Bowers said Friday, adding “Good policies and good leaders don’t need to resort to unethical tactics when they’re working in the interests of their constituents. We deserve better.”
“If Sawant is using city money to hold an election rally, I find this an egregious breach of trust and another reason why we need a change in leadership,” Broadway Business Improvement Area head Egan Orion said. Continue reading →
Building on recommendations from the Seattle Renters’ Commission, CityCouncil member Kshama Sawant announced two measures Monday aimed would alleviate some of the burden for Seattle renters. The first is a proposal to enact a Seattle rent control ordinance. The second, the Economic Evictions Assistance Ordinance, would look to protect tenants against substantial rent increases.
“We have two choices,” Sawant said at a Monday morning press conference at City Hall to announce her planned proposals. “One, just sit on our hands and expect that some day, in the distant future, the Democratic establishment will gather the courage to break from the real estate lobby and finally stand with us. We’ve done that kind of waiting for 40 years.”
Devin Silvernail always starts with the basics: Read your lease, and know exactly what’s in it before you sign it. Document everything. Do everything in writing (and no, texting does not count). That’s the “tenant rights 101” many of us know.
But did you know that there’s a ban on source of income discrimination in Seattle? Or that landlords are prohibited by law to screen tenants based on criminal convictions? Or that there’s a cap on move-in fees for renters can be charged? That you can organize in a renters union in your building?
In the grand scheme of things, not that many people do. Silvernail, who organizes Tenant Rights Bootcamps all around Seattle, thinks they should. That’s why he’s made informing renters of their rights part of his life’s work. “Knowing your rights is a really powerful tool,” he says. “You can recognize when a situation isn’t good when you’re unjustly evicted or taken advantage of, or owed relocation assistance.”
When we get Silvernail on the phone, he’s out walking around Capitol Hill — where renters, including Silvernail himself, are the majority — posting bright yellow flyers up for an upcoming Tenant Rights Bootcamp this Wednesday, March 6 at Capitol Hill’s Wildrose bar. The event, geared towards the LGBTQ+ community, is co-organized with the Gender Justice League, the Tenants Union of Washington and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant who is running for reelection this year.
“A lot of LGBTQ+ folks wonder about background checks. If folks haven’t had the same name their whole lives, how does that affect them? Can their landlord refuse them? We can quell fears around that, as well as around discrimination and protected classes,” Silvernail says while the stapler clicks punctuate his words.
“Still, 99% of the workshop will apply to anyone, and open to everyone who wants to come.” Continue reading →