Seattle Mayor to address the future of the eviction moratorium on Friday

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is expected to make an announcement on the future of the eviction moratorium on Friday.

Since March 2020, the temporary order has kept struggling tenants in housing while some landlords said it has been their worst nightmare.

Ayda purchased a home in the Lake City neighborhood before the pandemic, and ended up renting it to a tenant. She planned on eventually moving back in and raising a family in the home.

"I grew up literally like a minute away from here. I want to build a family here," said Ayda. "You can see it is pretty destroyed. It’s a non-smoking lease, and he has been smoking in the house, and that is a huge amount of damage. The eviction moratorium does not allow me to enforce my lease at all."

The tenant stopped paying rent and utilities soon after the moratorium went into effect, according to Ayda. 

"I don’t think he has the money to pay. He has not been looking for rental assistance. I would know because they notify the landlord if he’s trying and he hasn’t," said Ayda. "I have burned through my life savings because of this guy. He owes me over $45,000 in rent and utilities. There is no accountability. Nothing will happen to him if he doesn’t go and try and get assistance."

After the eviction moratorium was extended in January, Harrell and city staff have been meeting with stakeholder groups that include tenant advocates and small landlords.

Benjamin Maritz of Great Expectations, an affordable housing provider in Seattle, has attended a meeting and said, "I think there was a lot of strong feelings but also a lot of common ground in those groups. At the beginning of the stakeholder meetings, Mayor Harrell was very clear that it was his intention that nobody should become homeless as a result of COVID-19."

Seattle may extend eviction moratorium as tenants and small landlords deal with impacts

Seattle’s eviction moratorium is set to expire in a week, but there’s a chance it could be extended yet again.

Great Expectations operates 300 housing units in Seattle with buildings in Capitol Hill, First Hill, University District and West Seattle. About 60 tenants received rental assistance through the King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program, according to Maritz.

"I get a text on the phone from the county whenever rental assistance payment is processed, and these are big payments. They cover up to 12 months of rent, and as soon as I get that text, the tenant also receives a text and we kind of text each other and celebrate together," said Maritz. "The fact that we are able to get public assistance in that way. These are not bad people. These are people who are just having a very challenging time affording the ever increasing rent in our city."

Martiz believes the eviction moratorium has been an effective tool, and more rental assistance is needed to maintain stable housing. He said the City of Seattle programs have been challenging to access in comparison to King County’s program.

Meanwhile, Ayda is hoping the moratorium will be over soon. 

"Every month I sent him letters. I post on the door. I called him. I emailed him. No response," said Ayda. "I got trapped through the eviction moratorium. They say it’s an emergency, but it’s been two and a half years. This isn’t an emergency anymore. This has been my reality of housing someone for free who has no interest in cooperating."

The City of Seattle provided links to resources to FOX 13 News and added:

Here are some resources that exist around this challenging issue. As our team worked to pull these together, it only reinforced the clear need for a centralized resource site, as the mayor directed City staff to work on in his second Executive Order.

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