After two extensions of the eviction moratoria in 2022, Mayor Harrell in his Executive Order 2022-02 instructed our department to develop clear and accessible information to ensure renters understand the remaining tenant protections in place once the eviction moratoria expire on February 28. While the City of Seattle’s eviction moratoria has been in place for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, renters living in Seattle have other protections that will be in effect after February 28.
For detailed information about the end of the eviction moratoria, we have created a new webpage at www.seattle.gov/EvictionAssistance. Also, the City of Seattle’s Renting in Seattle helpline is available during most business hours at 206-684-5700. Language assistance is available through the helpline.
“Understanding your rights and protections as a renter can be complicated,” said Nathan Torgelson, director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. “We encourage any renter in the city of Seattle facing eviction to contact us for guidance.”
Under City law, renters can defend themselves in an eviction proceeding by declaring their failure to pay rent is due to a financial hardship. This eviction defense is in place for 6 months after the eviction mortarium ends or as long as the City’s COVID emergency proclamation is in place. Renters also have ongoing protection against eviction for unpaid rent if they show it was caused by a financial hardship and that it occurred during the civil emergency. The City requires landlords to offer payment plans for back-rent up to six months after the civil emergency ends. Renters facing eviction are entitled to free legal assistance, funded by the City of Seattle, through the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project.
The City has other renter protections that go beyond just unpaid rent. For example, the City only allows evictions for valid reasons or “just causes,” which prevents arbitrary evictions. Renters can also seek protection from eviction through seasonal safeguards, including during the school year if they have school age children or are employed in education.
For a more complete look at the City’s renter protections look at www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.