Seattle's City Council Wants Rent and Mortgage Relief, But Payment Is Still Due



Everyone whose job was impacted by COVID-19 should apply for unemployment. So many people who did not qualify before (self-employed, Uber drivers, contract workers, etc.) will qualify for the $600/week payment. Did you file taxes? Being paid under the table may be in issue, but if you can prove you made income and paid taxes on it, depending on your state, you may be able to get unemployment. The only way to know for certain you do not qualify is to apply. So many of the rules have been relaxed (again, it also depends on where you live).

While gig and self-employed workers are newly eligible for unemployment benefits, they may not qualify if they don’t have the proper work and pay documentation. This will largely depend on forthcoming guidance from the Labor Department about the kinds of acceptable documentation, and states’ interpretation of that guidance — currently among the biggest wild cards in the unemployment expansion, experts said.

There is no way landlords will be able to recoup rent lost if workers are not able to recoup wages lost. And evicting countless people, putting them out onto the street, and trying to rent those empty apartments when the economy has been decimated is just more insanity. If banks are able to provide moratoriums on mortgage payments (which include property taxes), then landlords need to provide moratoriums on rents. It also depends on the landlord, right? The nameless, faceless, huge corporations that bleed renters dry in Seattle DGAF that their tenants can't pay and ultimately their bottom lines won't suffer as they'll be bailed out one way or another. The landlords who own one or two rentals who may need that rent to pay their own bills (the kind of landlord my mom was) are going to be hurting financially, but not more than their renters.

And as has been mentioned before, who are they going to rent to? If tens of millions of people are out of work and most of those tens of millions were minimum wage employees (or even if they made more than minimum wage but aren't Amazon employees making six figures sitting on their couches), how is making all of those people homeless and all of those apartments going to get the economy back on its feet once COVID-19 stops killing people?

This is all about uncharted territory. There is going to have to be a lot of forgiveness and forging forward and fundamental CHANGE by a lot of people and if people want to live in a society that is not decimated by a public health crisis and a fucking dumbass dipshit shitting in the WH every day, things are going to have to be done differently. if we are going to come out of this with any semblance of a society to put back together, it's going to have to be working together to make sure the devastation caused by THIS crisis, can NEVER be caused by the NEXT crisis.


I think that landlords will be able to fill Rent-Strike evictions. As there are way too many people wishing for wanting a bigger, larger, smaller, closer to work apartment. I’d take the apartment of an evicted rent stiker. I’d like a large 1 bdrm. I believe that trying to work out a payment plan is better than saying “I refuse, Rent Strike!” It’s counter productive. The state is not going to pay your rent for you. Neither your mortgage. Ultimately, one will have to pay. Or get a blemish on their Rental Record. Which is there for 7 years. One should offer 1/3, or 1/2 rent if possible. Because I think that going to your land lord who has his own bills to pay, with this is better than saying no rent at all. In the end it’s all up to you. In the end one will have to pay ALL rent owned or be evicted.


@5 - Word. No question that people need help with rent. But telling them that they don't have to pay it just punts the problem up to landlords, who then probably can't pay the mortgage (or, the guy cited in the article, show says rent is his sole source of income).

If society as a whole wants to help people (and I think we do), then it is on society as a whole to pay the bill for it. You can't just expect landlords to eat everyone's rent for an undetermined amount of time.

And incidentally, while bad credit from not paying rent is a big concern, landlord's bad credit from not paying the mortgages is a much bigger one. Not because they are more important but because it is ALWAYS reported. You basically never see a ding on a tenant's credit history for non-payment of rent, because it is not reported (I don't even know how you would do that as a small landlord). Miss a mortgage payment and you are dinged forever. Among other consequences, that will raise the price landlords have to pay for future loans, which means that rents have to go up to cover the expenses.

As to rent strikes, they would accomplish nothing. The point of a strike is to get concessions from someone who is in a position to make them. If your landlord is not, then the strike will only serve to harm him/her and damage your relationship.


So, why doesn't the City Council just pass a Resolution that all those folks who are recently affected by the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" recommendation/order from Governor Inslee, be empowered to go check into Hotels, and not pay?
Why are City Council members picking which parts of our citizenry are losers, and bigger losers, vs. lobbying the Federal Government for concessions from the Banking Industry, as they get their $1.5USD TRILLIONS of 'bailout' money?
Sorry, I just can not see how this is not the first thought of a Leader. I fail to see the value of pitting people living hand-to-mouth vs. those-at-risk to lose their lifetime investment. This creates a zero-sum game creating winners and losers. Actually, given our situation, those that lose now and those that lose much more next fiscal quarter.
Assistance from the Lenders would be a win-win-win. No defaults on loans, fewer bankruptcies, less people being real-estate rich yet dispossessed, and fewer Covid-19 Homeless.
Or, am I crazy and no one else makes the same realizations?
I am not ruling out that possibility.


@7 - thank you


I own a house in Seattle, which I rent out to good tenants (and I don't make a profit after taxes, maintenance, except enough to put aside for emergency repairs). My mortgage is held by a bank in the Midwest. Are they going to allow me to forgo my mortgage payments that I can't make because my renters have been given special dispensation by Seattle not to pay their rent? I am more than willing to work with my tenants and have offered to do so, but I can't be the only person facing this issue. The City of Seattle is pretty free and easy with other people's finances. Not every landlord is a money grubbing fiend.


I think in the end this will work out. Seattle is too expensive because everyone wants to live here. Can't pay your rent? Eventually you'll move to someplace cheaper. This will make the city more livable i.e. less populated and put more properties on the market to rent thus driving down the cost of rent and housing in general.

The market (invisible hand) works if you let it.


@11 - My point is that if the entire population (that would be the city, here) thinks we should help people, then it should fall to the entire population to pay for it. And I think that the average Joe would likely be just fine with some kind of an assistance program. It could surely require that you demonstrate loss of income before being eligible for help; if you still have your job, you'd not qualify. I am not talking about having people "be irresponsible and not pay rent," but there is a real risk here that if a lot of people can't make rent there will be a lot of landlords who can't make mortgages, and that is not a good situation. Requiring mortgage forgiveness is not in the City's power. Temporary assistance so that this does not become a bigger problem is in the City's power. The city would not be buying up properties, and there would be no "massive government owned apartment blocks."

Do yo have a better idea for avoiding chaos in the rental/mortgage markets?


@15 - that may be a little harsh on Ms. K. She might not have been able to find a legit job because of the trend towards gig economy. Catering companies are probably finding it is more profitable not to actually hire anyone on the up and up.

To me, what this all shows more than anything else is that we need to drown the gig "jobs" in the bathtub and make people real employees again. That way everyone will be paying their taxes and eligible for benefits as they should be. The actual enemies of the people are Uber et al.