Vacant buildings have become a familiar part of the Seattle landscape in the last few years. These structures can devastate the neighborhood, undermine quality of life, and diminish property values. Trespassing, vandalism, and other criminal activities occur with some frequency. Fires, such as the one that burnt the former Seven Gables Theater, are all too common.
The City of Seattle has several COVID-19 recovery tenant protection bills that cover non-payment of rent, mandatory payment plans, and fair chance housing.
The governor announced by proclamation on June 2, he was extending the eviction moratorium until August 1. Rent increases and late fees remain prohibited under the moratorium.
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is seeking proposals for Tenant Services Grants for the City of Seattle. These grants are meant to fund organizations to help tenants learn and enforce their rights and learn about the resources available to them. With all the tenant legislation this year at both the state and City levels, it is more important than ever that tenants understand what these new laws mean for them.
New processes for inspection of vacant buildings took effect on June 1, 2019. The changes add a wider range of properties to the City’s Vacant Building Monitoring program, including all properties with active development proposals containing a vacant building. The frequency of inspections increased from once a quarter to once a month. We estimate that this will add approximately 1,200 new properties to the program this year and can reduce the risk of vacant buildings becoming a blight on the community. In the past, SDCI monitored around 100 properties each year with consistent vacant building violations.
New rules for vacant building monitoring take effect on June 1, 2019. The goal of the revised monitoring program is to help prevent the neighborhood blight commonly associated with vacant buildings.
SDCI Code Compliance enforces violations of the Tree Protection Code and the Regulations for Environmentally Critical Areas related to tree-cutting. Trees serve an important environmental function as well as adding beauty to our city. Our trees may be unnecessarily and unlawfully cut, sometimes at the instruction of a real estate agent or a tree company, because people are unaware of the rules about tree-cutting. There are several factors you should consider before deciding to remove a tree.
We revised the rat abatement forms required for getting demolition permits. Under the new process, applicants will file a declaration with their permit application affirming they understand the rat abatement requirement. There will be no hold on issuance of the demolition permit. At the first ground disturbance inspection, prior to the start of demolition, the applicant or contractor will provide a certification from a pest control company. The certification will confirm the date the rat abatement program started and confirm that the abatement program will continue until demolition actually starts.
On September 8, the Mayor signed Ordinance 125399, which updates provisions for the maintenance and demolition of vacant buildings. The ordinance becomes effective on October 9, 2017.
SDCI is reminding residents that if they need to make any repair over water they need to check with the City of Seattle first. Two common shoreline violations are unauthorized pier repair and the use of pressure-treated wood for pier surfaces.