Tenants cannot afford high upfront move-in costs, typically paying first and last months’ rent, deposit, plus other related move-in fees all at once to secure housing. This creates an often insurmountable financial hurdle for tenants who could otherwise afford the monthly rent. Fees and deposits must be limited to the equivalent of one month’s rent, and broken out over a 6 month payment plan. Last month’s rent must be classified as a deposit and be included in the total move-in costs limit.
Restore Just Cause Eviction Protection
Seattle tenants were previously protected from retaliation when filing complaints with the city or asserting their rights by the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance (JCEO). However, due to a flawed court case this critical eviction protection does not cover tenants on a term lease that is set to expire. This leaves a hole in the JCEO big enough to drive a truck through; as landlords can simply allow a lease to expire to evict a tenant for no cause. It is paramount to protect tenants from retaliation by requiring just cause protections regardless of the expiration of their lease. The city must require just cause when a lease is set to expire before a landlord can initiate an eviction.
Tenants face many unfair barriers to access housing based on discriminatory practices. Landlords must be prohibited from discriminating based on a tenant’s source of income, and not use categorical bans based on criminal history. Policies must be adopted to prohibit housing denials based on negative credit scores relating to student or medical debt, or where the debt is not a reflection on a tenant’s future behavior when renting a home.
Healthy & Safe Housing
It is estimated that 27,000 Seattle tenants live in substandard rental housing, with enormous impacts on their health and safety. The city must adopt stronger healthy housing standards supported by both community and municipal enforcement.