CORONAVIRUS: Mayor extends city moratorium on evictions, utility shutoffs into next year

Just announced by the city:

As federal funds for rental assistance continue to be distributed, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that she is extending the moratoriums for residential and commercial evictions through January 15, 2022 through Executive Order 2021-07. The order will also modify additional COVID-related relief measures related to utility assistance. This marks the sixth extension of the eviction moratorium as part of the COVID-19 civil emergency since March 14, 2020, when Seattle declared one of the first eviction moratoriums in the country. As reported by SCC Insight, Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura found the city and state eviction moratoriums to be constitutional in a recommendation on September 15, 2021, to Judge Richard Jones. …

The executive order continues tenant protections prohibiting landlords from issuing notices of termination or otherwise initiating eviction actions with the courts unless there is an imminent threat to the health and safety of the community. Late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment of rent during the moratorium are not allowed. However, tenants are still legally obligated to pay rent during the moratorium, and landlords are encouraged to offer flexible payment plans. Residential tenants who receive an eviction notice during the moratorium should contact the Renting in Seattle hotline at 206‐684‐5700.

The moratorium on eviction of nonprofit and small business commercial tenant applies to independently-owned businesses with 50 employees or fewer per establishment, state nonprofits, and 501(c)3) nonprofits. The extension also prevents eligible small businesses and nonprofits from incurring late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment during the moratorium. For additional questions please see the Office of Economic Development’s COVID-19 Lease Amendment Tool Kit.

Currently, upon expiration, Ordinance 126075 will take effect, providing additional tenant protections including the start of a six-month period in which a renter may claim a defense against eviction for non-payment of rent if they can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19. This timeline protects tenants from evictions for non/late payments through mid-June 2022.

The executive order also extends certain suspensions put in place to limit the economic impact of the pandemic on Seattle residents and small businesses. The Utility Discount Program’s Self-Certification Pilot Program, as announced in Executive Order 2020-03, will be extended through October 31, 2021. Mayor Durkan has also directed utilities to refrain from shutting off service to customers through January 15, 2022. Temporary parking zones for hospital and human services staff, as announced on March 26, 2020, will be resumed and be extended through January 15, 2022. The City continues to assess when to lift these individual suspensions as it relates to the COVID-19 emergency.

51 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Mayor extends city moratorium on evictions, utility shutoffs into next year"

  • Elton September 21, 2021 (1:59 pm)

    What about property tax relief for landlords?

    • WSB September 21, 2021 (2:53 pm)

      Various programs for property owners as well as renters are mentioned in the full release, linked in the first line.

  • Anne September 21, 2021 (3:33 pm)

    Expect it to continue after that date- as evictions during winter will be frowned upon.

  • Chris K September 21, 2021 (4:38 pm)

    Evictions should be banned permanently.   Everyone has the right to housing.

    • Spooled September 21, 2021 (4:57 pm)

      Not if you quit paying the person who OWNS the roof.  Be they the bank that lent you the money for that roof or a landlord leasing it to you.  Hell, even when you do own it, you still have to pay taxes, and then you’ll have a different understanding of “expectations” and “rights” as you get to pay for others.  No thanks.

    • WSRealist September 21, 2021 (4:58 pm)

      Everyone does have the right to housing. But sometimes people abuse that right, and they should no longer be allowed the right to stay somewhere if they can’t abide by the rules. That said, rent increases shouldn’t cause evictions, but not paying rent should. As should damaging the property or being a nuisance to the other tenants. Permanently banning the only recourse property owners have when it comes to bad tenants will ensure there will be less rental properties, as no one in their right mind would want to be a property manager.Please refrain from making statements in absolutes, it leaves no room for discussion,

    • The truth September 21, 2021 (5:05 pm)

      While I agree we should shelter all, it should not be done on the backs of private property owners.  

    • Irf September 21, 2021 (6:11 pm)

      Yeah, everyone has a right to housing if they can pay the price for it. If you can’t pay the price, move to a place you can afford. 

    • Tip September 21, 2021 (7:16 pm)

      A right to housing at who’s expense? The city or state doesn’t own the houses or apartments that are impacted by the eviction moratorium, private companies or individuals do. How do they have an obligation to provide housing for people? 

      • Irf September 21, 2021 (8:10 pm)


    • TRC September 21, 2021 (8:09 pm)

      While some people may think they have the right to housing there is no such right in the US. In this country we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Taken to an extreme, if every citizen has the right to housing, it is possible to imagine the government compeling some people to work and pay for housing directly for the benefit of other people. Which is not too far from the current situation…

    • Paleeaze! September 21, 2021 (10:57 pm)

      Everyone who pays for it has a right to housing. 

  • ElJay September 21, 2021 (5:08 pm)

    Curious if this protects tenants from new property owners buying a home and intending to flip and sell. 

    • Jack September 21, 2021 (5:36 pm)

      I’m glad you brought that up ElJay. I am currently in that very situation. My landlord sold his property to developers and they wanted me out in 60 days. I have been a faithful tenant and have never missed a rent payment for 6 years here,  even through the pandemic. The. Moratorium has protected me so far from losing my housing , and praying for a better outcome for everyone. 🙏 

      • Tip September 21, 2021 (7:13 pm)

        Curious why one would feel that a new owner should have any obligation to maintain a prior rental agreement? Or why a renter feels entitled to a property they don’t own? You were given 60 days, what more do you expect? 

        • Irf September 21, 2021 (8:12 pm)

          You are reading my mind. 

    • Just me September 21, 2021 (8:41 pm)

      An ownership transfer of the property doesn’t affect you directly as a tenant. The new owner will assume the lease you have in place, incl all terms and conditions. They may be more motivated to get you to move out, but they are still bound by your lease and landlord-tenant laws

  • Spooled September 21, 2021 (5:09 pm)

    Why did I even bother paying my mortgage?I predict a lot of small landlords with only a handful, or even one property,  as a retirement nest egg will sell out as soon as they can.  I hope so, may they get maximum rate, and I hope they don’t get screwed too hard before then.

  • Ally September 21, 2021 (7:02 pm)

    So if you have a small home you rent out mom and pop situation, does the tenet have to prove they can’t afford the rent and if they make no rent payments do mortgage companies let the home owner not pay the mortgage payment or can they forclose on the home for non payment 

  • eric September 21, 2021 (8:14 pm)

    Attention all landlords, SELL now. Its not gonna get better.

  • Mellow Kitty September 21, 2021 (8:49 pm)

    You guys are freaking out like NO ONE is paying their rent and are just sitting there giving the finger to landlords – it’s simply not true. And the same people complaining about more and more homeless people are wanting to put more people out on the street. Also, IF you bother to read the ordinance, it says back rent MUST BE PAID. With all the churches around here, there sure is a distinct lack of caring about your neighbors. 

    • Westwood September 21, 2021 (9:00 pm)

      Just because the ordinance says back rent MUST BE PAID, the sad reality is it won’t. Tell me how the average tenant who hasn’t been paying rent for over a year is going to be able to come up with $20k in back rent?  Get real. 

      • Ally September 21, 2021 (11:25 pm)

        I may have heard this incorrectly on the news, that the city council wants a six month notice of rent increases to tenets, and if the increase is 10% or above and the tenants choose to move , the current landlord would be responsible for their relocation costs, please tell me that’s not true, If it is the council is absolutely certifiably crazy 

    • Paleeaze! September 21, 2021 (11:03 pm)

      I’m beginning to get compassion fatigue. Sounds like others are as well. I don’t go to church and don’t plan to so your comment doesn’t apply to me.

  • KBear September 21, 2021 (9:06 pm)

    As Mellow Kitty said, it seems like some of the commenters are confusing “eviction moratorium” with “rent forgiveness”. Renters still owe their rent. They just can’t be kicked out for not paying it on time DURING A NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.

    • Paleeaze! September 21, 2021 (11:10 pm)

      Yes but when, and more importantly how will the pay it. Municipaliries around the nation have been painfully slow to dustribute these federal funds and we don’t really know if there is enough. So glad I’m not a landlord and I feel sorry for anyone who is. Sell first chance you get. If it’s a house, sell to an owner occupant. 

  • KR September 21, 2021 (9:11 pm)

    As a former landlord I feel very grateful to have shared the top half of our house with wonderful tenants over the last 3 years, especially through part of the pandemic. We provided a great living space at FMV or less, with included utilities, and many extras. That said, I’ve never been so relieved to see them off (mutually) to a new home and to remove our rental registration status from the City of Seattle. In reading through the executive order and trying to read into the “American Rescue Plan”, it seems there is finally some equality in relief being provided to property owners on the verge of losing their property due to foreclosure, and not just going to renters who have no intention of paying. (If I’m misinterpreting that, please correct me). I’ve been watching these moratoriums very closely for the last year and a half and can happily say I’ll never rent again in King County or the City of Seattle. I know many other small time landlords are getting out as well, and this extension won’t help affordable housing for renters going forward.   

  • Mykscott September 21, 2021 (10:07 pm)

    So those renters who can’t afford to pay their rent right now will suddenly be able to pay it all back to the landlord after all these extensions? Anyone who rents should sell their rental property. The average net worth of renters is $2000. This is a losing battle for landlords.

  • MW September 21, 2021 (11:03 pm)

    We own a duplex and our tenants have not paid rent in over a year. They are willingly choosing not to pay. We are not without compassion but that doesn’t seem to extend both ways as this is quite the strain on our family budget. We have consulted a property lawyer and are diligently tracking the amount owed. Our lawyer and her colleague have both told us not to count on repayment because we would be paying hefty legal fees, and it would take a long time to move through the backlog of court cases, only to garnish their future wages at a low amount it would take years for repayment. We have attempted to apply for the financial support recently offered and it is frustratingly going nowhere! We’ve emailed three times, called daily, and finally after over one hour on hold told that it is run by United Way of King County. Started again with days and days of trying to get a hold of someone. Finally talked to a woman who was confused why we were asking for support. She actually said the tenants have to initiate the case and that we have no grounds for hardship as the landlords. I’m honestly so disheartened and just wanted to share our experience. 

    • HS September 22, 2021 (9:01 am)

      I’m in agreement with you. The rule should have included an option for landlords to initiate the case file. Not having that has made an already difficult situation even more onerous.

    • 1994 September 22, 2021 (8:03 pm)

      Time to notify your renter that the unit will be owner occupied by XX date…..they need to move then, don’t they?

  • bill September 22, 2021 (12:28 am)

    As a landlord with a single property I am glad I bought a somewhat upmarket property that rents to reasonably well-off tenants. That provides some protection from them being tempted to stiff me on the rent. They have a credit and rental record to  maintain. That said, I have zero intention of investing in more rental property, particularly in Seattle. As for selling, there are hefty fees and taxes, not to mention money I sunk into the place to fix it up. Despite the runup in real estate prices, it’s not clear I would recover my investment if I sold now. I don’t have much choice but to hold for a few more years. If long-term renting becomes much more onerous the hassles of running the place as a short-term rental (Airbnb or VRBO) become tolerable, and the city will lose another long-term rental unit. Owners with non-paying tenants have my sympathy; I can’t image the stress that must cause.

  • wssz September 22, 2021 (4:02 am)

    This article from last week is unfortunately a perfect illustration of what’s happening to many small landlords, who can’t evict even under nightmare circumstances like this — “A West Seattle man who has given to the community is now hoping he can get a helping hand. What Scott Dolfay  is dealing with is a side effect of the pandemic. In short, he was unable to evict renters who he says trashed the house he was renting to them, not only falling into arrears on rent, but refusing him access for inspection.
    But there’s more to the story than “aggrieved landlord.” ” …

    Another example is a neighbor of my brother’s in North Seattle who is an “older woman on social security with a triplex, she lives in one unit and is renting the other two. Neither of the renters are paying monthly payments. She is foreclosed on, losing her home, and is terrified of becoming homeless. But the tenants remain, with no expectation of ever paying rent during this pandemic.”

    These are unintended consequences of a policy that’s extremely poorly thought out and hitting small individual landlords hard. –So much compassion for the renters. And NONE for small individual landlords, to the point that some vilify them, including some Seattle city council members. Small landlords cannot carry this burden. It’s literally breaking our financial backs. 

    • Fauntleroy Fairy September 22, 2021 (12:39 pm)

      @wssz. Thank you for bringing up that story! I was just going to mention it again since some commenters think that landlords are wealthy or selfish people.  Government should not have the right to hold another persons property from them without cause or compensation and the compensation has clearly been non-existent. Why won’t King County or Seattle give those same landlords tax relief that should only be paid back when they, in turn, get their back rent paid? Thats a rhetorical question so don’t bother to respond, I already know the answer.

  • skeeter September 22, 2021 (10:48 am)

    This seems grossly unfair to landlords.  I don’t know what I would do if I owned a rental and my tenant refused to pay rent for 18+ months with no end in sight.  Can a landlord sell the property and evict the tenant just to stop the bleeding?    

    • SEADOG September 22, 2021 (3:38 pm)

      The landlord can sell, but the tenant comes with the property. No evictions even if the tenant is grossly violating the lease or refusing to cooperate with the landlord in obtaining aid.

  • S.A. September 22, 2021 (10:59 am)

    Remind me again why I should feel sorry for folks who can sell their rental properties and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to the appreciation in equity caused by people owning multiple properties contributing to greater demand than supply in the housing market?  You literally have an asset that appreciates to the tune of hundreds of dollars per month, which you can cash out at any time, but you’re the real victims here?  

    • anonyme September 22, 2021 (11:57 am)

      If you really need a reminder, just read back through the comments.  Both are instructive.  Read the ordinance; landlords can neither evict nor “cash-out”.  You seem to be suggesting that rental properties should not exist.  Where would you suggest those people go?  Do you understand that many people either don’t want to own or can’t afford to?  Rental properties are an essential part of housing availability.  It really doesn’t make much sense to blame supply and demand issues on landlords, except to a small degree in regard to potential sales.  I’ll grant that Airbnb and others are a problem, but long-term rentals?  Nope.  Not all landlords are corporate entities, and many are losing everything – including their own homes – due to non-paying tenants.  This ordinance further encourages the absolute lack of accountability that is so widespread these days, and we will all pay for it – landlords included.

    • skeeter September 22, 2021 (12:11 pm)

      S.A. – it’s not a question of feeling sorry for landlords or figuring out who the victim is.  It’s a question of whether landlords should be able to evict tenants who do not or cannot pay the rent they agreed to pay.  Tenant agrees to pay landlord rent of $2,000 per month.  Tenant does not pay landlord rent of $2,000 per month.  Should landlord be allowed to evict tenant?  

      • S.A. September 22, 2021 (1:22 pm)

        If it’s not a question of “feeling sorry for landlords” then why all the sob stories posted here?You own an asset. It has value. Decide how to manage its value. As a landlord, you are earning passive income due to some past advantage that allowed you to leverage your assets and earn money by holding property off the owner market and renting it to others.  But no one owes you a favorable business climate in which to seek your rent.  When market conditions change due to a decision to prioritize a different social outcome (keeping people housed, rather than keeping you earning passive income), decide what you want to do with your asset.  You’re still better off than people without that asset. Congratulations, you’ve done capitalism!

    • Auntie September 22, 2021 (1:23 pm)

      Property values do appreciate, although your “hundreds of dollars per month” is an exaggeration. Meanwhile, landlords with only one property are paying hundreds per month in property taxes (not an exaggeration – my property tax works out to $450 per month), along with mortgage, insurance and maintenance of the property. So, when tenants don’t pay, these landlords are losing ground. And possibly facing foreclosure. 

    • Peter S. September 22, 2021 (2:20 pm)

      Sorry SA, but you are missing the bigger picture.  You are correct – housing prices in  general continue to appreciate in WS, and repeatedly extending eviction moratoriums make selling an increasingly attractive option for many small operation landlords.  Believe it or not, the ROI on most rental units is not that great by the time you deduct property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and quite often an outstanding mortgage.  And, that’s *IF* you always have few vacancies and great tenants who don’t skip out or damage the place.  The “big” payoff comes from the anticipated appreciation when selling.  Note, that’s anticipated.  Not guaranteed.  Layer the eviction moratorium on top of the other recently enacted fees and restrictions, and many small landlords are concluding the risks are simply not worth it.  Sell out to a developer or other buyer and invest in something safer with fewer headaches.  The result will be FEWER available, and consequently more expensive, options for renters.  Especially small “starter” houses which are in high demand.   That’s just the housing availability impact.  Then there’s the issue of government control over private property.  

    • 1994 September 22, 2021 (8:08 pm)

      Some landlords have mortgage payments to make, in addition to the property tax that is hundreds of dollars a month….not all landlords are wealthy enough to cover those expenses and perhaps bought the property with the idea the rent would cover those expenses.

  • wsalien September 22, 2021 (11:31 am)

    Ridiculous. Tax the rich and feed the poor. And I’m not talking WS rich, tax the huge corporations, they can afford to help and they should. Makes no sense for some to have so much more than enough while others are struggling. 

  • K September 22, 2021 (2:29 pm)

    I think the broader picture here is that smaller landlords and tenants are being pitted against each other, yet again, and there is plenty of narrative out there making one side or the other the villains. Meanwhile, banks continue to reap the rewards, and private equity keeps snatching up homes (and media outlets, fwiw). The latter two of the four groups contribute millions+ to our members in Congress. Seems bad!        

  • business owner September 22, 2021 (7:21 pm)

    Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and headaches with unemployment, none of this was well-planned out.  It seems logical that those receiving unemployment and extra weekly payouts (the ones that were making more off unemployment etc. versus actually working?), should have had their rent garnished and paid to landlords.  Technically, they were able to pay while working, so now that they are receiving more than what they were paid working, rent (what was agreed upon and in the lease), should have never been a problem to pay.   I mean, since “government over-reach” is the new normal, garnishing unemployment wages to cover living expenses paid pre-pandemic, seems like a no-brainer.  Everyone is up in arms over the need to help those hit by the pandemic and job losses, yet now everyone is upset that no one wants to work because they are getting paid too much.  I personally have witnessed several folks that have taken advantage of their extra unemployment benefits, the zero fear of being evicted and thus not paying rent, and overindulging in things (like drinking) to go un-checked due to ZERO accountability.  It is helping nobody.  It is straight up “enabling” those who are taking advantage because there are no consequences.  The people who are really struggling are those that were struggling pre-pandemic, so in a sense, nothing has changed.  Compassionate people understand that (as before), but compassionate people should also understand that these folks that are not paying (and who obviously can), are not helped by this moratorium.  In fact, the opposite.  They are given an opportunity to not be responsible, without consequence, which actually is terrible for their well-being.  I’ve always wondered…”If landlords quit paying their property taxes, mortgages, utilities, would the tenants still be protected from eviction if the government, banks, utility companies, repossess the property?  And would the landlord be protected, under the moratorium, from being evicted from their property?”  Just a thought.

    • S.A. September 23, 2021 (12:09 pm)

      Let me guess, you’ve personally seen some of these people buying steak and lobster with their EBT cards too, haven’t you?

  • Business owner September 22, 2021 (7:33 pm)

    Just one other thought… Can landlords (since it is their “business”), require tenants to show proof of vaccination (you know, like the “no shirt, no shoes” argument)?  Seems to me that a denial to be vaccinated would be sufficient to kick them out of their “business”.   Just curious as to how the city of Seattle will continue their staunch support for businesses requiring vaccinations?  Especially since these tenants are in close proximity to others that live and pay (their rent) as their neighbors. I know this going down a weird rabbit hole… but I honestly want a penny for their thoughts?  And I can guarantee the landlords want more than a penny:) 

    • heartless September 22, 2021 (10:08 pm)

      So…  you’re just a troll, aren’t you.

      I’ve noticed you drop these posts and then never follow-up when people respond or question or debate you.  But that would make sense if you only post to rankle and stir up trouble.

      Just a thought.

  • Business owner September 23, 2021 (7:43 am)

    No troll here.  I just like to ask the questions that I’m sure many think about as well.  If I post, then disappear, that usually means I finished my cocktail and went to bed:)

  • Nick September 24, 2021 (1:05 pm)

    Who in their right mind would ever purchase a rental property in Seattle after this insanity? The city is completely alienating and destroying their small individual landlords, many of which own only a couple properties or even just one… and rely on their rent payments to pay the mortgage/property taxes as well as their own well-being and are experiencing immense financial suffering and strain because of these crazy never-ending policies, which are being widely abused with little to no recourse. For some people their rental property is all they have, and is their primary source of income. All you have to look forward to in Seattle down the road now are giant companies owning and renting the vast majority of units. So congrats.

Sorry, comment time is over.