Seattle advocates push to extend governor’s eviction moratorium

SEATTLE — There is a big push in Seattle on Monday to extend Gov. Jay Inslee’s eviction moratorium that expires at the end of this month.

Advocates are concerned that homelessness could spike. They’re asking both the city of Seattle and Inslee not to lift the moratorium until some programs are in place to help renters.

In buildings across the city and others, apartment living has changed during the pandemic. Some renters have cut deals or signed revised leases with landlords if they could, but many people didn’t have that option.

Advocates say renters could lose their homes in large numbers when the moratorium is lifted. They asked the governor in a letter to hold off and requested a county-by-county approach in which the moratorium would be lifted only if that county could offer assistance to renters.

The letter also asked for rent hikes to be prohibited for a year, but some people on the other side of the issue say there are reasons why that would be difficult.

“Ninety cents of every dollar (landlords) received in rent goes toward an expense to the property. The largest expense would be the mortgage. The second largest expense is property taxes,” said Jim Henderson with Landlord Solutions.

“There is rental assistance available, and it goes to the landlords, but the landlords have to seek it out,” said Seattle City Council member Tammy Morales.

Both the state and federal governments approved hundreds of millions in assistance, but some of it hasn’t gotten to landlords and renters, so advocates are asking for some leeway.

The city council will take up several measures during a Monday afternoon meeting.  One of the measures asks the mayor to keep the eviction moratorium in place.