by Jack Russillo
On Wednesday, Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales proposed legislation to close a legal loophole that allows landlords to evict tenants without providing a justification.
The legislation, which Morales is calling the first in a series of “Tenants’ Bill of Rights” legislation, would bar landlords from evicting tenants without giving a reason and would automatically convert all fixed-term leases (those that last for a specific period, such as six months or a year) into month-to-month leases once they expire.
Continue reading Councilmember Morales Unveils Legislation to Stop “Discriminatory” Loophole and Prevent No-Cause Evictions
by Jake Goldstein-Street
(This article was originally published on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted with permission.)
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved “right to counsel” legislation Monday that will entitle residential tenants facing eviction to an attorney at no cost.
The vote on this legislation, sponsored by District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant, was originally scheduled for two weeks ago but was delayed via Council vote to sort out possible legal concerns. The original bill could have faced a lawsuit since it looked to give everyone the right to legal counsel regardless of income. Washington’s State constitution prohibits cities from giving money to people “except for the necessary support of the poor and infirm.”
Continue reading Seattle City Council Passes Sawant Plan to Fund Lawyers for Tenants Facing Eviction
by Elizabeth Turnbull
In an online press briefing on Thursday, March 18, Gov. Jay Inslee announced vaccine eligibility for roughly 2 million more Washingtonians through the next two tiers of eligibility, debuted a new vaccine locator tool for obtaining appointments, and outlined more flexible guidelines on visitations for residents and visitors to long-term care facilities who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition to opening new vaccine eligibility, Inslee also announced that he is extending the State’s eviction moratorium through June 30 and extending the utility shutoff moratorium through July 31. This follows an announcement on Monday by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan extending the City’s eviction moratorium through June 30.
Continue reading Inslee Extends Eviction Moratorium Through June, Announces New Vaccine Tier
by Carolyn Bick
On Monday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced an extension of the City’s current eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. The Washington State Legislature is also considering statewide tenant protections, as the March 31 end date for the statewide eviction moratorium looms on the horizon and no indication from Gov. Jay Inslee that he will extend the eviction freeze. The statewide protections include right to counsel legislation similar to what the Seattle City Council was also slated to vote on Monday evening.
Continue reading Durkan Extends Eviction Moratorium as Local, State Leaders Consider Further Protections
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Renters across Washington state have existed in a kind of financial and legal limbo since mid-March, when Governor Jay Inslee issued the first statewide eviction moratorium, declaring that the temporary measure would “help reduce economic hardship and related life, health, and safety risks to those members of our workforce impacted by layoffs and substantially reduced work hours or who are otherwise unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
At the time, no one knew how long the pandemic would continue or the impact it would have on the state and national economy. Since then, Inslee has extended the moratorium four more times, most recently in October, when he set a new expiration date of December 31.
But despite the moratorium, commonly referred to as an “eviction ban,” renters are still being evicted. Last month, nearly 40 people were evicted through the court system in King County, up from just eight in April. (We know the numbers for King County because they’re tracked by the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project, but a similar trend is almost certainly happening across the state). Added to that are an unknown number of people who are informally evicted through methods that, while not technically evictions, still have the same effect, their numbers never counted in the total of people forced to move — or made homeless — during a worldwide pandemic.
Continue reading Despite Eviction Moratorium, Renters Are Still Being Evicted
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State has reached a new milestone in the ongoing saga of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of today, there have been 50,000 people who have tested positive for the virus, since the start of the pandemic.
This is not a good number.
Continue reading As State Hits 50,000-Case Milestone, South King County Appears to Be Next Potential Outbreak Hotspot
by Gordon Mchenry, Jr.
The results of the 2020 Point-in-Time Count demonstrate what we already know — that we must accelerate our approach to how we fight homelessness. The latest data reflect what we sense and see: despite all of our efforts, the number of people who are experiencing homelessness has remained too high, with only slight variations from year to year. Far too many of our neighbors are suffering from the trauma of homelessness, housing instability, the pandemic, and inequities rooted in race and ethnicity.
This latest count found an increase of about 5% more people experiencing homelessness over 2019 — and the survey took place before the coronavirus pandemic caused the economic disruption that led to widespread loss of income. We are especially concerned about the growth in family and chronic homelessness. And we recognize that we have yet to see the result the recession has had on our most vulnerable community members.
Continue reading OPINION: Point in Time Count, 2020 Version: More of the Same. We Need Change
by Carolyn Bick
Though the rate of novel coronavirus infections has slowed, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washingtonians still aren’t staying home enough.
At a televised press conference on March 30, Inslee said that the data that has come in over the weekend has been “alarming.” The number of positive tests that have been coming in from counties surrounding King County, such as Skagit County, Adams County, and Island County have been two to three times higher than the week or so before.
Inslee attributes this to people going out too often on non-essential trips, thereby not following his stay-home order as well they should.
Continue reading Inslee considers extending stay-home order, addresses violation reporting, equipment shortages