Seattle (March 15, 2021) – Following last week’s announcement of $23 million of new rental assistance and the prospect of new rental assistance that will be available to Seattle and King County through the American Rescue Plan, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today the extension of COVID-19 relief measures, including the moratoriums on residential, nonprofit, and small business evictions in the City of Seattle through June 30, 2021. Currently, the state legislature is also considering statewide eviction protection legislation. Other COVID-19 relief measures include continuation of Utility Discount Program’s Self Certification Pilot Program is extended until June 30, 2021, which can lower Seattle City Light bills by 60 percent and Seattle Public Utility bills by 50 percent.
“While there is hope on the horizon, the work of recovery is just beginning. Seattle residents and businesses continue to feel the economic impact of this pandemic, and we will not successfully recover if we do not include the recovery needs of low-income communities and small businesses. Extending the eviction moratorium provides housing stability for our neighbors as new federal funding arrives. Fortunately, our eviction moratorium has withstood initial legal challenges in King County Superior court as it is directly tied to the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Mayor Durkan. “Help is here with President Biden’s historic rescue package. President Biden signed into law a plan includes more assistance to families and additional rental assistance to set Seattle residents, our business, and our neighborhoods up for a strong and swift recovery,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.
While the residential eviction moratorium is in place in Seattle, property owners may not issue notices of termination or otherwise initiate an eviction action with the courts unless there is an imminent threat to the health and safety of the community. Along with halting evictions, the order also prevents tenants from incurring late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment of rent during the moratorium. However, tenants are still legally obligated to pay rent during the moratorium and landlords are encouraged to offer flexible payment plans. In addition, tenants in Seattle have the added protection after the moratorium is lifted of a six month defense to eviction for non-payment of rent if they can demonstrate financial hardship.
Residential tenants who receive an eviction notice during the moratorium should contact the Renting in Seattle hotline at 206‐684‐5700 or go online to submit a complaint. In addition to the current proposal for $23 million for rental assistance, the City of Seattle has committed $18 million to rental assistance in addition to state and King County resources for landlords and tenants. The City of Seattle is closely following any action taken at the state and federal level regarding moratoriums.
The moratorium on eviction of nonprofit and small business commercial tenants applies to independently-owned businesses with 50 employees or fewer per establishment, state nonprofits, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Along with halting evictions, the order also prevents eligible small businesses and nonprofits from incurring late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment during the moratorium. For additional questions please see the Office of Economic Development’s COVID-19 Lease Amendment Tool Kit.
The Executive Order also extends suspensions put in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19 along with programs designed to limit the economic impact of the pandemic on Seattle residents and small businesses. These extensions include closures of all public-facing customer service counters at the City of Seattle, and City permitted events. Temporary loading zones for restaurants and small businesses, and temporary parking for hospital and human services staff have also been extended. The City continues to assess when to lift these individual suspensions.
As more businesses are reopening, SDOT is developing a plan to reinstate the 72-hour parking ordinance that will be back in effect starting April 1, 2021.
The City continues to maintain a comprehensive resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.