Recently, Seattle’s City Council passed a ban on evictions during the winter months. The ban will be in effect from the first day of December until the last day of February. The mayor refused to sign the legislation but she also didn’t veto it, which means the moratorium passed by the Council will go into effect immediately.
Additional money has been pledged through city and private sources to fund eviction protection programs.
Basically, this means that as a landlord, you are not permitted to evict your tenant during those three winter months. If your tenant is behind on rent payments, you can still evict, but you’ll have to wait until the winter is over.
Exceptions and Conditions to the Eviction Moratorium
As with every law affecting Seattle landlords and their tenants, there are a few exceptions you should know about.
First, this only applies to eviction on the ground of nonpayment of rent. When you have to evict someone because of criminal activity at the property or because they violated the lease agreement and refused to come into compliance after you issued a Notice to Comply, you can still move ahead with your eviction.
Landlords who own four units or less in the city of Seattle are also exempt from this law. If you can prove your tenant meets the threshold of a high wage earner, you can also apply for an exemption.
How to Handle this Law as a Landlord
The point of this law is to keep Seattle’s homeless numbers from increasing during the coldest months of the year. But, as a landlord you still need to make your mortgage payments and pay for the maintenance, taxes, and insurance associated with your rental property. This will be a burden on most landlords in Seattle, no matter how well-meaning the law might be.
Working with a professional Seattle property management company has never been a better idea. It’s going to require some experience and skill to navigate this law and remain in compliance with it while ensuring that your investment property remains profitable and protected.
There are a lot of nuances involved in this law, and it was passed unanimously by the City Council, so there’s little chance of its repeal. If you think you will need to evict a tenant from December to February, we strongly recommend that you speak to an attorney and get some advice from a property manager. You’ll need to know whether any of the exemptions apply to you.
Another important thing to realize is that you can still move ahead with the eviction during the winter, but when it’s filed, your resident will have to submit a specific defense that indicates they would fall under the protection of this law.
If you decide to seek professional help, look for a Seattle property management company that is well aware of this new city ordinances. It’s easy to make an expensive mistake when it comes to complying with Seattle rental laws.
We can help you work within this new law. Contact our Seattle property management team at Real Estate Gladiators.