SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan extended the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions through Jan. 15, 2022, her office announced Tuesday.
This is the sixth extension of the moratorium since the coronavirus pandemic hit the region in March 2020.
The executive order by the mayor continues tenant protections prohibiting landlords from initiating evictions with the courts unless there is an "imminent threat" to the health and safety of the community, according to Durkan's office.
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.
The executive order also extends other COVID-19 related measures to help reduce stress on tenants, such as utility payments. Durkan directed utility companies to refrain from shutting off service to customers through Jan. 15, 2022.
Residential tenants who receive an eviction notice during the moratorium should contact the Renting in Seattle hotline at 206‐684‐5700.
Durkan's extension of the moratorium comes as Gov. Jay Inslee's statewide eviction moratorium bridge is set to expire on Sept. 30. The bridge took effect on July 1 and was created to give counties additional time to pay landlords and connect tenants with rental assistance.
Housing groups are calling on Gov. Jay Inslee to extend the moratorium bridge as King County has only distributed 10% of its rental assistance funds. The county said Monday it's distributed $34.3 million, including $4.4 million in the past week.
King County has worked to make the process more efficient. It recently hired 10 new staff members to its Eviction Protection and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) and finished negotiating a $24 million contract with the King County Housing Justice Project, which will intervene if eligible tenants are brought into the eviction process who could not be helped through EPRAP.
In Seattle, Durkan said the city has distributed more than $15 million of the first allocation of the American Rescue Plan rent relief to tenants and landlords since June. The remaining $6 million of that first allocation of federal funds has already been earmarked for community-based organizations that give rental assistance to BIPOC communities, according to Durkan's office.
The mayor's office said an additional $28 million of federal funds was approved in August, and the city is already distributing those funds, including to United Way King County, to provide rental assistance.
When Seattle's eviction moratorium expires in January 2022, a new ordinance passed by the city council in May 2020 will take effect, providing additional protections for tenants.
Ordinance 126075 will give renters a six-month period after the moratorium expires in which they can claim a defense against eviction for non-payment of rent if they can demonstrate financial hardship due to the pandemic.
The ordinance will protect renters from evictions through mid-June 2022, according to the mayor's office.