City extends eviction moratorium for residential, nonprofit, small-business tenants

As the COVID-19 economic crunch continues, the city has just announced a mayoral order extending the moratorium on residential, nonprofit, and small business evictions through year’s end. From the announcement:

… While the moratorium is in place in Seattle, property owners may not issue notices of termination or otherwise initiate an eviction action with the courts unless there is an imminent threat to the health and safety of the community. The order also prohibits late fees, and when paired with Governor Inslee’s proclamation, increases to rent and security deposits are prohibited through October 15. Tenants who receive any eviction notice during the moratorium should contact the Renting in Seattle hotline at 206‐684‐5700 or go online to submit a complaint.

The moratorium on nonprofit and small business evictions impacts independently-owned businesses with 50 employees or fewer per establishment, state nonprofits, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Along with halting evictions, the order also prevents eligible small businesses and nonprofits from incurring late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment during the moratorium.

Residential, nonprofit, and small business tenants who must appear in court should use the moratorium as a defense. If a tenant does not appear in court, the court may grant a continuance to allow the matter to be heard at a later date after the moratorium has lifted. …

The full announcement is here.

72 Replies to "City extends eviction moratorium for residential, nonprofit, small-business tenants"

  • ACG August 14, 2020 (2:14 pm)

    Im happy for the small businesses and non profits for them to get some extended relief. Are they offering financial relief/reimbursement for the building owners so they can continue making their mortgage payments on the building that these businesses are renting from?  Didn’t see anything in the announcement about that.  Not all building owners are big rich developers.  My neighbor (NOT WEALTHY for those of you who want to “stick it to the man”), has a small commercial building that they bought awhile back. But the rent payment from their tenants are important to them so they can make their mortgage/building loan payment. Hate to see them have to sell the building to a big developer who will tear it down and ultimately displace those small businesses in that space who the city is trying to help in the first place. 

    • Derek August 14, 2020 (2:52 pm)

      Will someone think of the landlords!!! No. You want to own property you must assume the risk. Don’t own property if you can’t pay it with your own income. And not from a tenant’s labor. 

      • 1994 August 14, 2020 (3:27 pm)

        Risk. If no one took a risk the world would be in deep doo-doo. People take risks every day and buying property is part of life. Renting property is part of life. When you rent you sign a contract saying you will pay rent. Property owners should not be foreclosed on if renter’s aren’t paying.

      • landlord August 14, 2020 (3:27 pm)

        You want to RENT property you must assume the risk.  Don’t RENT property if you can’t pay it with your own income.  And not from the government’s handout.

      • Anne August 14, 2020 (3:40 pm)

        A tenants  labor? Really? What a stunted viewpoint. so should there be no apartment buildings -except those owned by folks so rich- they can cover something like this?What  Hogwash- I feel for all- but also wonder who helps the building owner -even if he’s not carrying a mortgage- there’s taxes, utilities, upkeep. 

      • Luke August 14, 2020 (3:43 pm)

        LOLOLOL Are you kidding me Derek.

      • A August 14, 2020 (3:49 pm)

        Right back at you Derek. You want to rent a place you assume the risk that if you do not pay rent you will be evicted. Don’t rent a place if you can’t assume the risk of being evicted for not being able to pay rent. The rules need to apply equally to everyone. If you are not required to pay rent by order of the mayor then the home owner should not be required to pay their mortgage by order of the mayor. What’s fair is fair and this order is not fair at all

      • ACG August 14, 2020 (3:49 pm)

        Derek, you can spin this 3 ways to Sunday. I hear your spin on it. We could spin it this way… perhaps the small businesses/non profits shouldn’t have signed a lease commitment that they can’t fulfill?   So, spin away if you’d like. This pandemic could give a rat’s $&@/ what side of the spin you’re rooting for. When you start passing the buck, it eventually has to stop somewhere. Some people get luckier than others in this chain of events, I guess.  My best wishes to others who have posted that are also struggling with the ramifications of this in addition to the small businesses/non profits who make our communities unique and thriving. It’s hard all around. 

      • John August 14, 2020 (4:18 pm)

        Boy, the stereotype is that landlords are heartless.I think you have them beat.

      • Smittytheclown August 14, 2020 (4:58 pm)

        Derek, business is all about risk.  That’s why banks exist.  If all landlords had to pay in cash (rather than via mortgage) we would have very few owners with all the pricing power. It would not be good.

      • Arianna August 14, 2020 (5:14 pm)

        Derek, if you try to think how would that work – only rich people would be able to own properties. You do realize that a large number of rentals are owned by very small investors, for example someone who can save for a down payment, working and saving for many years, and financing probably 80% of the cost to buy a rental. Vs. a much richer person who can shell out many hundreds of thousands in cash, and then does not have to worry about mortgage payments.  In your world, all housing would be owned by very rich people.  What do you think, would the rents be lower or higher?Also you expect that landlords should let renters live in their properties for free,  because they should not take money from their labor. 

        • candrewb August 15, 2020 (7:28 am)

          I actually think that is what he wants. Leftists seem to have a thing for the elites; it’s the kulaks they despise because their existence reminds them that their situation could in fact be their fault.

        • Ilovederek August 15, 2020 (9:18 am)

          Ooh Derek – looks like you hit a nerve. Truth hurts. Landlords should have saved for a rainy day. Word hard, play hard.

          • Troy August 15, 2020 (9:45 pm)

            Maybe the tenants should have saved for a rainy day.  I love how people with nothing like to tell those with more what they should do to be more responsible.    If someone were living in your property and not paying, you’d care.  Since it’s not your problem, you don’t care.     I’ve got a tenant was a friend.  I paid him for work he didn’t do.  He hasn’t paid rent in a year.   He parks his trucks up and down the street (he has four).  He leaves trash all over the property, and he prevented me from selling the building.   Due to the moratorium extension in Philadelphia, now he has until Spring to stay there for free.   I still have to pay taxes, mortgage and insurance.   When all is said and done, he will have cost me maybe $30,000.   I suppose if the moratorium was extended for another 10 years, you’d be ok with that?  How long of a rainy day am I supposed to have saved for?   Please tell me wise one.  

      • candrewb August 15, 2020 (7:25 am)

        Derek, if there’s one thing your thinking will guarantee, it’s the disappearance of attainable rentals.

      • landlordsrightsmattertoo August 15, 2020 (9:40 pm)

    • Nope August 14, 2020 (5:24 pm)

      “Own a small commercial building”… “not wealthy”… only one of these things can be true. 

  • wetone August 14, 2020 (2:25 pm)

    What’s governor Inslee doing for the property OWNERS ? I hear crickets….. There are many people loosing their retirement investments and their own homes from governor Inslee’s halfway orders lately. Can’t excuse one group and do nothing for the others. Many of these property OWNERS are working multiple jobs trying to save what they worked hard getting while many renters are doing little. Inslee’s poor leadership just continues downhill……

  • John August 14, 2020 (2:56 pm)

    I have a friend who owns three rental homes.  My friend owes mortgages on all three homes.   Two of the renters are unable to pay and my friend is lot legally allowed to evict them.  My friend is having to work 70 hour weeks to pay for the mortgages.   My friend told me the renters aren’t even looking for work….why should they…the City is giving them free rent.         It’s disappointing how the landlords are being punished to provide shelter to those that didn’t save for bad times.   

    • DRG August 14, 2020 (4:00 pm)

      It’s disappointing how the landlords are being punished to provide shelter to those that didn’t save for bad times.”Maybe the landlords should have saved for the bad times as well?

      • troy August 15, 2020 (9:49 pm)

        Who says they haven’t.  It’s easy to spend other people’s money isn’t it.  Landlords are supposed to offer the poor tenants a free place to live, because that’s what they agreed to right?

    • Gwen August 14, 2020 (4:22 pm)

      “It’s disappointing how the landlords are being punished to provide shelter to those that didn’t save for bad times.” Wow, you are repugnant, and so is your friend if he’s angry he can’t force people onto the street during both an economic catastrophe and a global pandemic. 

    • ITotallyAgreeWithYou August 14, 2020 (4:36 pm)

      Sounds like your friend should have saved for bad times. Property owners can negotiate with their mortgage lenders. That’s where their protections lie. Those in my field regularly work 70 hours a week so what a lucky friend you have for whom that is not the norm but a temporary situation. 

      • seadog August 14, 2020 (9:29 pm)

        Maybe the state should just stop violating the 5th amendment property rights of landlords and actually pay for rent and utilities of those who need help.

    • Ice August 14, 2020 (5:56 pm)

      Not to say that your friend isn’t suffering in these circumstances, but buying three investment properties is an inherently risky move, financially speaking. Even if he was able to kick out his tenants, there is no guarantee that he would even be able to find someone to fill that vacancy. On top of that, it’s just a deferred payment, so it will only be lost income for him if he ends up evicting them after the moratorium is lifted. It’s a lot harder to feel sorry for your friend in these circumstances than people who could literally lose the roof over their head and be on the street.

  • Lena August 14, 2020 (3:16 pm)

    Agree with you.  We need it to extend to mortgages also.  I own the building I practice in and rent out part of it to other businesses – I’ve been super lucky so far that my tenants continue to pay me even though two of them are closed due to COVID.  But I need my rental income to pay my mortgage.  I rent the house I live in and luckily due to being able to continue to work I can pay my landlady but I am her only rental and if I couldn’t she would not be able to pay the mortgage.  Many in Seattle that rent property rely on the rental income to pay their mortgage.

    • N August 14, 2020 (4:18 pm)

      I was almost in your shoes.  We rent the home we live in but had a rental property, we just happened to have sold it at the beginning of COVID so that we could possibly afford a primary home here and move our family of 4 out of the 800ft house we rent.  With the lack of rental houses here we need all the landlords we can keep.

  • TJ August 14, 2020 (3:57 pm)

    Derek, the fact is a contract was entered between a owner and renter. Plain and simple. Now the government is stepping in and getting in the middle of that and changing the contract to benefit the renter while screwing the owner. I own a business, so am on that side. But, the government should stay out of this all together and let the market work this out. Landlords will want to work with their tenants as now is not a good time to look for new ones. Renters are still owing all the back rent, so that m3ans a massive reckoning when this ends. Unless our council gets in that too, which there are already rumblings of, and not making tenants pay back rent ( on the residential renting side). Sounds like you may be for that as well 

  • Property August 14, 2020 (4:08 pm)

    Property owners can use a temporary forbearance to stay their mortgage. That is the federal program that was created for property owners during the pandemic. You’re in a better position if your mortgage is an FHA owned mortgage.

    • Winston Smith August 14, 2020 (6:20 pm)

      Those that choose to not make payments on loans as a result of the pandemic have their accounts flagged “Natural Disaster”. This basically locks you out of the best loan markets for the next 12 months. Not paying is viewed worse than a late payment.

  • JKK August 14, 2020 (4:15 pm)

    It’s not “free rent”.  I believe that I read that the rent is only deferred.  They will owe all of the back pay at some point in the spring I believe. Yes it may be a day late and a dollar short. But people are not / will not be getting away with not paying rent.   They are just racking up a bill that they will eventually own the landlord or owner where they live.  

    • AMD August 14, 2020 (5:21 pm)

      Meanwhile, owners can get a forbearance from the CARES act, which allows them to pay back missed payments OVER TIME once they’re able to pay again, in contrast to the renters who can be required to pay the back rent all at once.  Still not feeling bad for the owners here…

    • Blbl August 14, 2020 (5:59 pm)

      If a tenant cannot afford to pay rent now, why does anyone believe they will be able to pay all the back rent when it comes due at the end of the moratorium? Even with a payment plan, it is not realistic to think the housing provider will ever be paid. The moratorium is now set through Dec 31. That will be almost a year since the original order was issued.  What will likely happen is the moratorium gets lifted with a year of back rent unpaid, the landlord sets up a payment plan, which of course the tenant cannot pay, the landlord then pays several thousand dollars to eventually evict the tenant after another six months of stress on both ends. What a solution. 

      • So True August 14, 2020 (7:19 pm)

        Blbl…..   You are one of the few realistic people on this discussion.    There is no way the landlord will ever see back rent paid.   

        • 1994 August 14, 2020 (8:48 pm)

          Rent could increase….after the lease changes hands. Housing could become more expensive to rent.

        • seadog August 14, 2020 (9:25 pm)

          Exactly, and they’ll probably be stuck with thousands in utility bills too. My guess is that once the moratorium is up, landlords will just sell their properties.

  • flimflam August 14, 2020 (4:58 pm)

    Does anyone really think someone that can’t a months rent now will somehow come up with months, a year, or back rent? This is a tough situation for everyone but a landlord should not be on the hook for a tenants non-payment indefinitely. A lease is a contract that must be honored by both parties…

    • flimflam August 14, 2020 (6:01 pm)

      whoops, “can’t pay a months rent” is what i intended…

    • ITotallyAgreeWithYou August 14, 2020 (6:48 pm)

      Well yes. It’s the difference between being employed and unemployed due to the pandemic. Many of us earn way more working than on unemployment. And it’s not indefinite. There is a definite time frame.

  • Lena August 14, 2020 (6:39 pm)

    Why is it renter vs property owners? Why not freeze mortgages and rent payments like other countries have done and help both.  We are all in this together.

    • PotKettleBlack August 14, 2020 (7:17 pm)

      It’s renter vs property owner because it’s the job of the criminals installed in our federal government to divide Americans along whatever lines they can. If we are busy fighting each other over where our next meal comes from we won’t have time to fight traitors. 

      • KM August 15, 2020 (11:52 am)

        Nailed it.

    • Gwen August 14, 2020 (7:19 pm)

      Yeah, this! It’s unfortunate (but absolutely not surprising given that this is the West Seattle Blog) to watch people punch down on those who otherwise would  staring down homelessness if not for this moratorium. Be angry at the people who have the power to keep this from even being a discussion, but choose not to.

      • seadog August 14, 2020 (9:18 pm)

        The state and not landlords should not be forced to bear the brunt of this and pay for the rent and utilities for those who need assistance . This is a cut and dry violation of 5th amendment property rights.

      • CMT August 14, 2020 (9:44 pm)

        Agree that the vulnerable tenants AND landlord/mortgagors should be provided protections.  Disagree that there is a greater amount of “punching down” on this post or WSB generally than there is  “punching up” to demonize landlords who happened to invest – possibly their life savings – in what is not a high risk investment in normal circumstances.  People at all points are suffering through no fault of their own.

      • PotKettleBlack August 15, 2020 (9:48 am)

        Yup. Doesn’t matter if we’re “punching down” or “punching up.” So long as we are punching each other we’ll be too busy to punch the racist traitors that did this to us. 

    • Ice August 14, 2020 (8:54 pm)

      This is a good point, I agree that not allowing property owners to defer mortgages is absolutely unfair. However, getting banks to defer mortgages would likely require a legal battle with an incredibly rich, organized business sector that has access to the best lawyers and nearly unlimited resources. Allowing property owners to defer mortgages is a much better solution, but it is also much higher hanging fruit.

      • Frog August 15, 2020 (9:10 am)

        It’s actually simplistic to think that “banks” collect mortgage payments or have the power to defer them.  Most debt on large commercial apartments is bundled into CMBS, owned by your pension fund or insurance company, university endowment, hedge fund, etc.  Banks don’t hold that debt; they just collect fees for making the loans and bundling them into securities.  Next biggest holder of rental property is probably private equity, which might be owned by all of the same institutions above, and might be highly leveraged, and might have money borrowed from banks or shadow banks.  Not sure who holds the debt on properties owned by small real estate speculators, but it might not be banks.  Anyone who says “why don’t they just …” doesn’t appreciate the extreme complexity of finance these days, the huge number of links in the chains of debt / investment, the many types of players involved, and the different relationships between them.  Allowing one link in the chain to stop payments just pushes the crisis to the next link.  If you collect a pension, or need an insurance payout, or collect a salary from an institution with an endowment, the last link in the chain might even be you.  It would take a long time to figure out how to change all the rules in a way that was fair to everyone and not subject to abuse by anyone.

        • KM August 15, 2020 (11:57 am)

          Thank you for pointing out how the private real estate ownership and financing game has too big of a hold on our economy. It’s absolutely gross that we STILL allow for this to happen.

  • Ilasdad August 14, 2020 (7:31 pm)

    The renter can’t pay rent and the property owner can’t pay the mortgage – but somehow at the end only the banks will get every cent owed. 

  • TJ August 14, 2020 (8:09 pm)

    The government needs to stay out of contracts between 2 willing parties. That’s what landlord and renter is. It’s not in most owners interests right now to evict someone as it’s not easy to get someone else in. Anyone with half a brain knows that with potentially 9 months of back rent due a landlord will not see that paid on many instances. And in this city in particular it’s probable the council will next push to write back rent off. They hate land and property owners after all. Stay out of it. Let the chips fall where they may. I think you’ll see it won’t be as soon and gloom as some think. 

  • MD August 14, 2020 (8:15 pm)

    We will sell our rental house in Seattle as soon as we are able–probably to first-time homebuyers, taking it out of the rental market. There will be one less rental unit in a city that’s short on them. Oh well, we just can’t afford to support it. We need to eat and pay for a place to live, just like everyone else does.

    • S August 14, 2020 (9:10 pm)

      Ditto, sold mine last year after the first come first served nonsense. It’s no longer a rental.

    • seadog August 14, 2020 (9:32 pm)

      Yep, the city council and the mayor are shooting themselves in the foot on this. It makes no sense to be a landlord in Seattle. 

  • MrsT August 14, 2020 (9:30 pm)

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why all this vitriol isn’t being aimed directly at the Republicans in the Senate stonewalling all the funds, and refusing to protect homeowners/property owners/renters in favor of profits for the banking industry. I am absolutely certain that nobody in this community wants to see millions of people getting foreclosed and evicted from their homes. And it is completely asinine to shame people for not saving a years worth of rent in case of pandemic. 

    • Really? August 14, 2020 (11:13 pm)

      I think he democrats recent  “aid” bill was 1700+ Pages – at least 1600 pages unrelated to Covid aid – sure it contained Covid aid but it also contains a bunch of other stuff like Federal bail out of states that squander their money.  It is ridiculous that Trump had to issue an executive order in order to extend Covid aid. Pelosi and Schumer were quite capable of passing a bill just containing covid aid, and quickly since any republican opposing it would have been vilified, but instead chose to hold hostage  the welfare of the American people suffering through no fault of their own “business as usual“ politics. 

    • wscommuter August 14, 2020 (11:42 pm)

      Well said.  I am mystified at the vitriol I read here in this tenant v. landlord dialogue.  It’s a freakin’ pandemic that has destroyed our economy.  So renters lose their jobs and can’t pay rent … not their fault and no one wants these folks evicted.  Landlords then lose that income that pays their mortgages … not their fault either and no one wants to see banks foreclose on them.  Why on earth are commenters here blaming either side?  Neither tenants nor landlords are at fault.  Point your venom where it belongs … our national leadership failed us 5 months ago when this might have been contained and the damage limited.   And now Trump and his Senate lackeys are playing games with helping these very people.  Remember that in November.  That’s where your ire should be aimed.  

      • Possible solution August 15, 2020 (12:34 am)

        Agreed – neither the landlord or the renter is at fault for this extraordinary and unexpected predicament. There is a contract in place (as commented above) – the city and the governor should not be interfering with it (it is illegal and is taking away constitutional rights of  landlord). Instead, the renters should be given loans or their debt forgiven. 

      • Alkilocal August 15, 2020 (7:17 am)

        Wscommuter: I agree with you. However, this is not a national legislation but a local and state issued moratorium. Governor, mayor, and city council are creating this discussion platform which is important to clarify and remember. 

        • MrsT August 15, 2020 (9:38 am)

          The Federal government can and should be throwing billions of dollars at this, but instead they are enriching the already rich, and throwing billions more $$ at the defence department. There is no excuse for that. 

      • LocalAlki August 15, 2020 (7:18 am)

        Wscommuter: I agree with you. However, this is not a national legislation but a local and state issued moratorium. Governor, mayor, and city council are creating this discussion platform which is important to clarify and remember. 

  • Brian August 15, 2020 (8:39 am)

    Lots of landlords in here somehow trying to make themselves look worse by actually admitting that they’re landlords. Good move.    

    • CMT August 15, 2020 (5:35 pm)

      Is that supposed to be a joke (I hope?). Because no landlords = no rentals.

  • Mj August 15, 2020 (9:42 am)

    And again where is the middle in this discussion?  The economic impact is horrendous but once again the government answer is one sided.  The rent is still owed and allowing the renter to defer payment simply digs a deeper hole.  A 50 50 plan would be more equitable for all.  This would require the renter to pay at least 50% of the rent to avoid eviction.  

    • MrsT August 15, 2020 (11:55 am)

      The middle ground here is still millions of people left homeless in a pandemic. The middle ground is not an acceptable place in many many scenarios in life.

      • troy August 15, 2020 (9:54 pm)

        it’s no more acceptable for landlords to lose their property because they are being saddled with the problem of potential homelessness.  It’s no different than the government saying “you have more money in your bank account than your neighbor” and reaching into your account, and giving it to the neighbor.   

  • Lisa August 15, 2020 (12:13 pm)

    There are tenants taking advantage of these no evictions. I live in an apartment complex which I’m moving out soon mostly because there is a tenant that is smoking weed 24/7 in her apartment. The halls smell of weed. She is on section 8. The complaints of her go un-noticed. She has been warned numerous times but because of the no evictions she can continue this behavior.  

    • seadog August 15, 2020 (3:18 pm)

      According to the mayor’s own order, a link of which is posted in the WSB, a tenant can be evicted for imminent threat to health and safety of the community.  A lot of people have respiratory disorders and noxious smoke could endanger them. Might be good for you to forward the link to the WSB story to help the other tenants out who can’t afford to move and maybe get this inconsiderate tenant problem solved.

  • Troy August 15, 2020 (9:52 pm)

    I voted for Clinton, Gore, Obama and Hillary.I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I may vote for Trump.  I can’t stand what these socialists are doing to landlords.  It’s wrong to force landlords to provide free housing to tenants.  Period.   How could that EVER be fair to the landlords?   If you want to give the tenants vouchers, then do so, but don’t saddle the landlords with this burden.  

  • Troy August 15, 2020 (9:58 pm)

    Just to be clear – forcing landlords to provide free housing is equivalent to the government reaching into your bank account and taking money out to give to other people that have no money, just because you have more.   And I wouldn’t agree that this is what taxes are,  because with taxes, there’s a whole system in place that figures out all the details of every person’s situation.  This blanket forcing of landlords to house tenants who don’t pay completely ignores the financial situation of the landlords.  I guarantee you that there are some that are going to lose their life savings over this.  What if the landlord ends up homeless, yet the tenant who didn’t pay gets to live there for free?  For many retirees, all they have is their rental properties, which they considered to be a safe investment.   

  • B W August 16, 2020 (11:47 am)

    Yeah, obviously this is bad for landlords, but no tenant wants to be in the position of not being able to pay rent either.  Maybe if our useless Republican-controlled federal government had acted to I don’t know, actually listen to science instead of praying to Jesus, we wouldn’t have to keep extending these policies.  What are you gonna do, throw people on the street?

Sorry, comment time is over.