CITY COUNCIL: Eviction moratorium won’t be extended; free street-café permits will

Two pandemic-related votes of note at this afternoon’s City Council meeting:

EVICTION-MORATORIUM EXTENSION FAILS: District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed a resolution to extend the city eviction moratorium until the pandemic public-health emergency ends, countering Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s decision to end it on February 28th. The proposal was rejected, 3-5. Only West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold and West Seattle-residing citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda joined Sawant in voting for the extension. (Councilmember Tammy Morales did not attend the meeting.)

EXTENSION PASSES FOR FREE STREET-CAFE PERMITS: Councilmembers unanimously approved extending the pilot program that “enables restaurants and other retail storefronts to utilize streets outside of their businesses for outdoor dining or displays,” as described by its sponsor, District 6 Councilmember Dan Strauss. The program was previously set to expire at the end of May; now it will continue through January 31, 2023. In the meantime, the city is expected to develop the rules and fees for a permanent program.

35 Replies to "CITY COUNCIL: Eviction moratorium won't be extended; free street-café permits will"

  • westSeattle February 22, 2022 (8:06 pm)

    The real issue here is the city council doesn’t want to take responsibility for paying the rent directly to the landlords. If they had, the renters would be happy and the landlords would be happy. There are renters truly in need – no doubt about that. But there are also renters who can work, are working and are not paying rent because they don’t have to. The US Supreme Court decided a case in New York last year that stated that renters could not self-certify they could not pay rent because of covid hardship – because a person cannot be a judge in their own case. Seattle should do the same. In contrast, if the landlord does get any aid, there are strings attached including income level, only partial payment of the owing rent (so they have to accept partial payment and promise not to go after the rest in court), and the inability to evict for something like a year. Why isn’t anybody reporting that? Perhaps this is the city council plan of getting rid of the biggest group of rental providers in Seattle, mom and pop landlords, so that the city can provide housing – socialism! Remember: nothing is free. “Free rent”, “Free forgiveness of student loans”, just means somebody else has to pay for it. As Margaret Thatcher said: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

    • James February 23, 2022 (2:20 am)

      Thatcher was a fascist and hyper capitalist. Not sure I agree with anything you said or your quote. People will be homeless if this isn’t extended. People need a little time to get grounded and rent shot up. Need to protect citizens despite plight of the “small landlord” (we care about bullying by big landlords more) 

    • flimflam February 23, 2022 (7:41 am)

      if “the city” paid rent to the landlords then, in essence, its you and i, tax payers, paying all this rent. no thanks. the eviction moratorium had some sound reasoning at first but over two years later?

  • westSeattle February 22, 2022 (8:18 pm)

    Also, I want to point out two things:1. There is data from other cities that indicates no impending eviction tsunami: Even after the eviction moratorium ends on February 28th, renters still have 6 months of protection. They cannot get evicted for not paying their rent during that time as well as during the last 2 years (when mayor Durkan’s emergency order preventing eviction for non-payment went into effect). However, they can get evicted for other violations (besides failure to pay rent)  allowed in the city and state  “just cause eviction” law. One example is violating the lease. 

  • TJ February 22, 2022 (8:51 pm)

    Seattle already had some of the biggest rental protections in the country before Covid. I dont get the governments place in interfering in a legal contract between two willing parties in private business. By allowing renters to play kick the can on rent for 2 years now they have created a deep hole for them to pay back owed rent. Rental prices actually weren’t allowed to drop to where the market dictated by their interference. 

  • Jeremiah Krane February 22, 2022 (8:56 pm)

    This is less about Sawant and Herbold’s concern for renters and more about their crusade to drive private property owners out of the rental market so the city is the only avenue available to provide affordable housing options.

  • Look Both Ways February 22, 2022 (10:45 pm)

    Glad both votes went as they did. Things will start to move in a productive direction again. It should be noted that Harrell’s plan still allows a 6-month protection extension beyond the deadline for tenants who demonstrate financial hardship.

  • Smithtwin February 22, 2022 (10:58 pm)

    Renters entered into mutually agreed contracts should not or never should have been allowed “free rent”.  This is a prime example of government overstepping the line. All landlords that have been subjects should rise their case to the Supreme Court. Why is one private entity in these contracts (renters) given forgiveness while the other (landlords) left to hold the liability without income. Is a broken contract not subject to the penalties within said contract?  I’ve moved out of Seattle and electing to sell my Seattle home rather than rent so as such not to become a victim of the jurisdiction. Seattle has become so pathetic. Let em live in the streets…is that really humane for any body on either side of the road?

  • Dale February 23, 2022 (7:06 am)

    Councilmember Lisa Herbold has been in a war with landlords for years.  She walked out of a meeting with five of us several years ago, all landlords owning less than five units, all “mom and pop” landlords who keep our rents fair and respect our tenants.  We were only trying to explain the unintended consequences of her initial attempt to limit landlord rights, and control their business.  She didn’t want to hear that.  She’s been a horrible councilmember,  partially responsible for destroying Seattle, and needs to go.

    • Roms February 23, 2022 (9:37 am)

      I believe owning and renting five units is a business at that point, not “mom and pop.” In the current rental market, that’s at least an income (I’m not talking profit, but income) of $10,000 a month, or $120,000 a year.

      • Look Both Ways February 23, 2022 (5:43 pm)

        If that gross income is true, that’s absolutely still “mom and pop”. By comparison, a single owner restaurant can easily drive 2-3x that in gross income, before costs. Does that mean they’re not “mom and pop”?  When you subtract insurance, licenses, staff/contractors, supplies, maintenance, admin….and in the case of rentals, mortgage & property taxes….that’s very much mom and pop territory.

      • Axe February 23, 2022 (6:23 pm)

        Owning 5 units is definitely mom and pop. There are much larger regional and national owners that own hundreds and even thousands of units across several metros. 

    • jort February 23, 2022 (10:07 am)

      Seattle is destroyed?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!? Oh my GOD  what happened?!?!?!?!!? I was just looking out my window and, yup, there was still Seattle outside, but now I’m hearing that Lisa Herbold destroyed it??!???!!!! Oh man, this is going to be so bad!!!

      • Saul Notgoodman February 23, 2022 (10:48 am)

        Maybe you should look a bit further than your window and, I don’t know, compare Seattle today with what Seattle was merely ten or twenty years ago. If you can tell us with the straight face that the Sawant/Herbold crowd’s policies are not substantially responsible for the downturn this once great city has been going through with no bottom in sight, then I am prepared to vote for you for mayor, because your bumpersticker sloganeering will certainly fix everything.  Step 1: deny reality.

        • Seattlite February 23, 2022 (3:01 pm)

          Saul…Your comment is truth.  Seattle’s problems are directly related to Seattle’s city council’s policies which are not written and passed to do the right and best thing for Seattlites.  Doing thorough research before voting for a city council candidate is one way to not keep voting in the same mistakes.  Remember also, that the city council’s passed bills must be signed off. allowed to go into law without a signature, or vetoed by Seattle’s mayor.  A strong mayor  is also a plus for Seattle.

        • B February 24, 2022 (7:12 pm)

          Saul, before you tell someone to look at Seattle 10-20 years ago in comparison to today as a way to demean the current state of the city, you should probably do some basic research about the state of homelessness, drug addiction and crime 10-20 years ago in Seattle.

          If reading is not your forte, you should check out the 1984 documentary Streetwise (you can rent it from Scarecrow Video, a mom and pop video rental that has been open for over 30 years despite the extremely declining state of our city), it’s a heartbreaking look into what Seattle has failed to break away from; and more poignantly so it should be mentioned that this entire documentary followed the lives (and a few deaths) of homeless children and the only ones to profit from it, were the married filmmakers who never actually did much for those kids except make bank off of their hardships (and again, deaths). They were nominated for an academy award and a lot of their “characters” never got to see adulthood or even a life free of homelessness, drug addiction and forced prostitution. There’s a sequel too, in which they revisited and once again profited from the horrible life one young Seattle girl went on to live after they achieved success from Streetwise and did nothing to get her help.

          I say all of this only because, Seattle has never been perfect, far from it in fact, and it certainly wasn’t “better” than it is today. This documentary about literal children that I refer to, is solid proof of that. So, until the human beings living in this city can say with complete honesty that they aren’t profiting from the extreme suffering of those with very little or exploiting the underprivileged and calling it a profession, I don’t think the history of Seattle is something to be proud of or used as a means to prove it’s state of decline because it’s been declining for a long time and that attitude isn’t helping.

          Also, I don’t know where anyone expects these businesses to put their outdoor cafés when all of the sidewalk space is about to be overrun by the tents of all the families getting evicted next week.

          Can’t wait for Streetwise 2.

      • s February 23, 2022 (11:35 am)

        I sold my rental after Herbold’s renter screening legislation three or four years ago, because I saw the direction that the Council was heading. I put the sale proceeds into the stock market and have done well. What Herbold’s legislation achieved was to make the rich (me) richer and to remove a fairly-priced rental house out of the rental pool. I think Dale’s point was that while Herbold’s actions may be well-meaning, in practice she is so clueless that she does more  harm to renters than good. 

        • James February 23, 2022 (4:15 pm)

          Sold our rental units around the same time. From what we know, it went to a property management conglomerate or developer.  Picked up a couple properties in the Phoenix area and rest in the stock market. Thanks Herbold for making our financial decisions much easier, I guess.

        • Peter S. February 23, 2022 (5:07 pm)

          Same here.  SMH.

  • trickycoolj February 23, 2022 (7:27 am)

    Everyone wants to take off masks and “go back to normal” then rent and bills come right along with normal. 

  • HS February 23, 2022 (10:32 am)

    I’m super excited about outdoor dining continuing and expanding. I love it!!! 

  • JVP February 23, 2022 (10:45 am)

    Unemployment is low here, and there’s a labor shortage. Why again did this moratorium last this long?  I totally get having a safety net for those who are at high risk, who don’t have the skills to work from home and thus cannot secure a paycheck. That’s not what this was.  Sawant, Herbold, etc. are driving all the small landlords out, which is actually driving rents UP.  Are they secretly working for the big landlords? Crazy.

  • Jon Wright February 23, 2022 (1:20 pm)

    Same people complaining about Councilmember’s Herbold’s vote on the eviction moratorium are probably the same people complaining that the Council isn’t doing more to deal with “the homeless.”

    • Axe February 23, 2022 (6:28 pm)

      The homeless crisis is a different issue driven mainly by drugs leading to unemployment (or vice versa) and predates covid. Tackle drug use with mandatory rehab and you would significantly reduce homelessness. 

  • RLV February 23, 2022 (2:01 pm)

    Just curious: how many people commenting on this thread are renters?  And how many are homeowners?

  • Pessoa February 23, 2022 (5:09 pm)

    The real culprit? Lock downs that enriched the asset class, pauperized the already poor, and to add salt to the wound apparently did little to reduce mortality. 

    • MyThruppence February 23, 2022 (8:11 pm)

      Can you please explain fully what basis you use to deduce that lock downs “did little to reduce mortality”? Thanks.

      • Pessoa February 24, 2022 (8:52 pm)

        Thruppence: I’ve included a link to the Johns Hopkins meta-analysis which found, overall, no significant reduction in mortality as a result of lock-downs (summary conclusion). It is important to note that this an analysis of how countries fared with Sweden being the baseline, but it is reasonable to assume the same findings could be applied at a more local  state level (for example, Washington State.)  It is a large study with obvious caveats, but it has certainly caused waves, contradicting what many of thought to be true – that lock downs were effective in reducing mortality. Very worth looking at seriously.

        • MyThruppence February 25, 2022 (1:26 am)

          Oh…the economist written Herby, Jonung, and Hanke working paper. The non-peer reviewed document with very strange methodologies which usually indicate that the authors are writing a paper to confirm their pre-established hypothesis. For a full background on this, I invite you to read this article in Forbes. Very worth looking at seriously.

          • Pessoa February 25, 2022 (8:38 am)

            Thruppence:  With all due respect, I did look at the Forbes article and was disappointed to find it merely a snarky attempt to discredit a study by attacking it’s authors without ever presenting a single well thought out counter-argument, anything that could be remotely close to being described as “scientific.”  It is not a serious article, in my opinion.   But others can form their own opinions.  

          • Gable February 25, 2022 (9:16 am)

            And, another article questioning the Swedish approach to Covid 19, calling it criminal, citing lack of testing and giving morphine to the elderly in nursing homes with Covid rather than hospitalizing them.

          • MyThruppence February 25, 2022 (11:41 am)

            And with all due respect to you Pessoa, what you are citing is a paper, not a study, as to be a study you must have been peer-reviewed and published in an independent journal. The writers of the paper you cited are Economics professors, not epidemiologists. Since they teach at John’s Hopkins they are allowed to place it on their computer servers, even though it is not a paper the university itself would cite as definitive in any way. I think it’s fair for folks to understand that. It is also why news of this magnitude is not being more widely reported. Epidemiologists who have looked at the paper have cited many problems in it’s methodology. I expect it to be ultimately discarded as drawing unreliable conclusions.

    • Math Teacher February 23, 2022 (9:27 pm)

      We never had “lock-downs”. We were always free to go to the grocery store, etc. You must mean stay-at-home guidelines and business closures, etc, which are not the same thing as lock-down orders.  Washington state’s mortality rate is much better than most other states, and within Washington, King County’s mortality rate is much better than most counties in the state.  Right now vaccinations are our best protection, but remember that vaccinations weren’t available for the first year. Social distancing, mask wearing, and  business closures were very effective in keeping King County’s mortality rate like 1/2 the rate of most locations.

    • Gable February 23, 2022 (9:34 pm)

      Washington State had the 7th lowest mortality rate due to Covid.
      For people collecting unemployment, the additional weekly check of $600 under the CARES Act meant some made more money than when they were working.

  • Peter S. February 23, 2022 (5:09 pm)

    You’re right Jon, but it depends on which segment of the “homeless” you are talking about and how you want to define “deal with”.  Similar to other posters, I sold my far-below-market-value-rent Admiral area rental house last year due to the current city policies, restrictions, and requirements.   Net result:  One less truly affordable rental house on the market.  There’s something very wrong when investing in the stock market somehow feels safer and smarter than owning Seattle rental housing.  

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