Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes issued the following statement after a King County Superior Court judge upheld as constitutional all but one word in three City tenant protection ordinances: the six-month eviction defense after the current COVID-19 eviction moratorium ends; the ordinance allowing a three- to six-month repayment plan of overdue rent after the COVID-19 state of emergency ends; and the winter eviction ban.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said, “In a more perfect world we would have ample federally funded rental voucher assistance to help both tenants and landlords, but in absence of that, the City stepped up to curb evictions during the most dangerous months of the year and to help prevent a tidal wave of homelessness as we recover from this pandemic. While some may disagree with the merits of these ordinances, the judge ruled that—with the exception of one word in one of them—the laws are legally sound. Thanks to some great lawyering, there’s a lot of Seattleites who can sleep a bit more soundly in their beds tonight.”
“My gratitude to Assistant City Attorneys Roger Wynne, Jeff Weber, Erica Franklin, and Derrick De Vera for racking up this substantial win for the City,” Holmes added.
Ordinance 126075 creates an affirmative defense to an eviction proceeding for a tenant who self-certifies a financial hardship if the eviction proceeding would result in termination of the tenancy within six months after expiration of the City of Seattle’s current Residential Eviction Moratorium.
Ordinance 126081 entitles a tenant who fails to pay rent during or within six months after the termination of Seattle’s COVID-19 Proclamation of Civil Emergency to pay the overdue rent in installments over three to six months.
Ordinance 126041 creates an affirmative defense to eviction proceedings for a moderate-income tenant, if the eviction would result in termination of the tenancy between December 1 and March 1 in any given year.
The King County Superior Court Judge’s decision is available here.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones recently denied a plaintiffs motion seeking a preliminary injunction against the City of Seattle’s eviction moratorium in a separately filed lawsuit last month.