Earlier this week, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that he will issue an Executive Order to extend Seattle’s residential eviction moratorium and small business and non-profit commercial tenant eviction moratorium for an additional 30 days until February 14.
“As this rapid surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant drives further pandemic uncertainty, keeping vulnerable people in their homes must be the immediate focus,” said Harrell. “Over the next month, we will continue to track changing conditions and seek improved metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the moratorium and aligned policies. Our actions will continue to be driven by data and our values, focused on preventing a rise in homelessness and supporting the tenants and small landlords most in need.”
In a new order, Mayor Harrell is issuing instructions to departments to take immediate action in limiting the pandemic’s future negative impact on Seattle residents and collecting relevant data on the effectiveness of the moratorium, including:
• Forming an interdepartmental team to streamline acquisition and distribution of support funds, enhance data collection on the impact of the pandemic and eviction moratorium on tenants and small landlords, develop a plan for an online portal better connecting impacted tenants and small landlords to resources, and assess unintended consequences driven by the moratorium in certain situations where domestic violence, property damage, or other negative outcomes have occurred;
• Developing an outreach and education plan for Seattle residents at risk of eviction, informing them of their rights should the moratorium cease and educating tenants about the different types of eviction related communications they might receive;
• Creating an advisory group for the mayor composed of tenant advocates and small landlords;
• Thoroughly evaluating Seattle’s intergovernmental coordination in receiving and distributing financial assistance to tenants and small landlords;
• Reviewing aggregate effect of utility relief policies and utility shut off suspension, including long-term impact on ratepayers;
• Identifying and swiftly delivering outstanding utility assistance resources to tenants and small landlords.
“I am refusing to simply extend the moratorium and sit idly by as if our work is done – the City must go further to pursue the most effective methods of support for tenants and small landlords,” said Harrell. “In this Executive Order, I am directing City departments to use the next 30 days to urgently and comprehensively collect and analyze needed data around the pandemic’s effect on the housing crisis and impact of the eviction moratorium, improve accessibility and delivery of assistance resources, and prepare targeted outreach to tenants most at-risk of eviction.”
The length of the residential eviction moratorium set by Harrell’s order is supplemented by Ordinance 126075, passed by the City Council last year along with a suite of other tenant protections. Immediately taking effect upon the expiration of Mayor Harrell’s order, the ordinance provides an additional six months of protection against eviction for tenants who have suffered a financial hardship and are unable to pay rent. Harrell’s extension also directs Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities to continue to maintain flexible payment plan policies and halt utility shut offs for 90 days until April 15. It continues to suspend booting of vehicles for unpaid parking tickets until further notice and extends for 90 days temporary parking zones for hospital and human services staff.