The Seattle City Council later this month will begin weighing giving some tenants a longer warning period before being evicted and making it easier for public agencies to buy rental units to keep them affordable.
The Seattle City Council later this month will begin weighing a bill giving some tenants a longer warning period before being evicted and a second bill making it easier for public agencies to buy rental units in order to keep them affordable.
The first bill would require a rental-property owner to provide a tenant with 90 days’ notice for an eviction caused by the owner moving into, having a family member move into or selling the tenant’s unit. Currently, 20 or 60 days’ notice is required, depending on the circumstance.
The second bill would require the owners of some rental buildings to provide 15 days’ notice to the Seattle Office of Housing and the Seattle Authority when intending to sell, before listing the property with a real-estate service or advertising it for sale.
That legislation would apply to buildings with five or more units, including at least one rented by a household earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income.
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The owners would not be required to sell to the city or to the housing authority. But the notice would give the agencies more time and opportunity to buy the units rather than allowing them to be sold to private parties more likely to raise rents.
The two pieces of proposed legislation were attributed in a news release Wednesday to Council President Tim Burgess.
“The growing lack of affordable housing poses a direct challenge to our vision of an equitable city,” Burgess said in the release. “There is no one solution, but the city should play an active role in preserving and promoting affordability. These proposals are the first of many concrete steps we must take.”
The bills will each be introduced Tuesday and will be taken up by the council’s housing committee. Both proposals were initially explored earlier this year by the committee’s then-chair, former Councilmember Sally Clark, who has since resigned.
Her temporary replacement on the council and chair of the committee is John Okamoto. “I look forward to considering these bills,” he said in the news release.
Councilmember Nick Licata has been separately working on other bills related to tenant rights, he said in a recent interview.
One might require that all fixed-term rental leases automatically become month-to-month leases when they run out. The city’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance provides various protections for tenants on month-to-month leases.
Another Licata bill might establish penalties for landlords who don’t provide relocation assistance despite being found to have pushed tenants out by raising rents in order to do work on a building.
In addition, a task force convened by Mayor Ed Murray is scheduled to issue recommendations by July on improving housing affordability in Seattle.