Please help me understand the fairness or economic logic involved in allowing tenants to “self-certify” that they cannot afford to pay rent from now until next spring?

We are small-time local landlords who provide workforce housing but we have units currently sitting empty so we avoid the legal hassles and costs associated with pursuing tenants for nonpayment of rent. It makes better economic sense for us to keep them empty than to incur the costs of renting to tenants who may or may not honor their contractual commitments — and to whom the City Council has just given a wholly new legal defense. Yes, we have mortgages and taxes, and yes this new policy will result in more apartments being kept off the market, and yes we are now being asked to function as a banker to our tenant with no guarantee of repayment. Where is the fairness in that?

Said differently, why would a tenant pay rent when the City Council has just given them a legal strategy to live rent free for — count them — eight months?

Robert Mitchell, Seattle