Seattle City Council approves winter eviction ban

Seattle City Council approves winter eviction ban
(KIRO 7 News)

SEATTLE — Most residential evictions in Seattle have been banned during the coldest and wettest months of December, January and February, but the City Council decided against invoking the ban for November and March.

The move aimed at helping low- and moderate-income tenants from being ousted from their homes where’s there’s a widespread homelessness problem was enacted Monday night with a 7-0 vote by the Seattle City Council despite opposition from Mayor Jenny Durkan, The Seattle Times reported.

Durkan spokesman Ernesto Apreza warned the ban is almost certain to be contested in a legal fight that would be be costly for taxpayers. It does not apply to landlords who own four housing units or less.

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Supporters have said the ban was needed to prevent people down on their luck from being forced outside during bone chilling weather, adding that the evictions disproportionately affect women and people of color and that people can die without shelter.

Some other U.S. jurisdictions restrict evictions during bad weather but Seattle is the first U.S. city to adopt such a broad ban, city councilors said.

Critics of the ban said landlords need eviction power during the winter so they can pay their bills and urged city leaders to reduce evictions by connecting needy tenants with rent assistance.

The legislation applies to tenants who fall behind on their rent and to tenants accused of violating certain lease terms.

Renters who engage in criminal activity, cause nuisances or engage in behavior that makes their neighbors unsafe are exempted from eviction ban.

Some other United States jurisdictions restrict evictions based on bad weather but Seattle is the first U.S. city to adopt such a broad ban.

Critics of the proposal say landlords need to make sure they can pay their bills, and argued that Seattle should instead reduce the city’s evictions by connecting needy tenants with rent assistance.

The legislation would apply to tenants who fall behind on their rent and to tenants accused of violating certain lease terms. It wouldn’t apply to tenants engaging in criminal or nuisance activities, nor to owner-occupied properties. It also wouldn’t apply to tenants proven to be engaging in behavior making their neighbors unsafe.