4 days after we reported on another big Morgan Junction apartment building going condo, we have two updates. First, one of the outgoing (not by choice) tenants has been blogging about her experiences. Second, we heard from Michele Thomas, a West Seattle resident who works for the Tenants’ Union and has taken at least one call from someone caught up in this conversion; since this is far from the only building where tenants are getting/have gotten/will get the boot, she wanted to share some info…
Seattle tenants facing condo conversion have the following rights:
- Right to 90-day notice to vacate if on a month-to-month lease,
- Landlords cannot terminate leases early and cannot force a tenant to leave before their lease it completed,
- Tenants earning less than 80% of the AMI are entitled to $500.00 in relocation funds before they move out. The City of Seattle’s DPD office can verify eligibility: 206-684-7979,
- During the 90-day notice period, tenants can only be evicted for three reasons: Failure to pay rent, disturbing other tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises and damaging the property or creating a nuisance,
- During the 90-day notice period, the landlord cannot change the rules or raise the rent,
- Tenants also have the first right of refusal to purchase the unit and the developer must inform each tenant of this right,
- During the 90 day notice, the tenant still has all their rights, including their right to be given 48 hours notice of each intent by a landlord or construction worker to enter their unit to do repairs or upgrades.
Tenants having problems enforcing these or other rights can call the Tenants Union’s free hotline at: 206-723-0500 or visit our website for more information at www.tenantsunion.org
These laws are important, but they are not good enough. The Tenants Union recommends that you call our State elected officials to tell them about your experiences. There will be serious efforts in the next legislative session to improve these laws and to better protect tenants and its important that our legislatures know that this is an important issue for you too.