City of Seattle Places Moratorium on Evictions
Posted May 5, 2020
By Washington State Business & Real Estate Law Lawyer Babak Shamsi
Earlier this year, the City of Seattle placed a moratorium on evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently set to terminate on June 4th, at the same time that a similar statewide moratorium will also sunset. On May 4th, the Seattle City Council voted to provide new additional protections to Seattle residential tenants against evictions. Mayor Jenny Durkan is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.
The new bill provides that tenants will have a defense against eviction for failure to pay rent, so long as the eviction would force tenants to vacate their residences within six months of the termination of the moratorium. In order to invoke the defense, however, tenants will have to certify that they have suffered a financial hardship. Moreover, tenants will continue to incur debt as it accrues during this period of time, and the bill does not provide for any rent forgiveness. The bill also does not apply to commercial tenants.
While this bill only affects the City of Seattle, there is the possibility that other areas in Washington State will attempt to afford tenants additional relief during this crisis. Please continue to monitor the blog at Beresford Booth for updates on developments pertaining to the impact of COVID-19 on real estate matters. The lawyers at Beresford Booth remain available to assist you with legal counsel in these difficult times.
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