Hey Seattle! You're Protected Against Evictions Until Next March.

Comments

1

Gee, landlords threatening to retaliate against poor people, hardly a new concept.
Who exactly do these landlords think will rent their empty apartments when EVERYONE can't pay the rent?

2

Sounds like free rent for a year. You really people are gonna be able to pay a years worth of back-rent? hahahahhahhh
Cant wait to see all those credit scores bottom out come next spring!

So, will the city allow the landlords to not pay property taxes until next March?

3

It doesn't really matter if the landlords fold, somebody will repossess and resell the buildings and the rental stock will remain. The buildings aren't going anywhere.

4

Is there somewhere I can donate to our poor beleaguered landlords during this difficult time of only being able to be 90% shady instead of 100? I guess I'll send thoughts and prayers.

5

So 15 months free rent- 12 courtesy of the fuckwads on the council, and 3 more for the eviction process. Well done.

6

There seems to be this almost universally accepted truth around here that all these property owners with rental units are evil "lords" of property who stomp on the poor peasant folks, and they send the mean Sheriff of Nottingham to collect...

WTF?

I don't understand why the city (or state) government feels like it's okay to deprive property owners of their income? If they want to help renters out, give them the money to pay the rent. It should come out of the city's coffers.

The example from the article about shoplifting seems quite apt, no? Why stop at renters? I can't afford food this month, so I'm not going to pay for my groceries/take-out... I'll get it to you next year. Why isn't the city supporting that concept? Why is it different?

I'm not shitting on people who can't pay their rent - I'm support public assistance for those in need. I just don't get why it's fair to put that burden on property owners.

The precedent this sets is alarming, and so far from what I've seen of it, this is a much-too-often case of liberal politics fucking themselves over in the long run. However, maybe there's some perspectives on this that I haven't heard yet - I'd genuinely be interested.

7

"Every council member who voted for this same amendment during the winter eviction moratorium vote felt the need to chime in"- of course they did, virtue signaling at its finest.

8

I see a lot of court cases in the future.

9

@3- lick doorknobs.

10

@6 if people have no money how are they supposed to pay? people who have the money are paying their rent. evicting hundreds or thousands of people (millions nationwide given the number of people who have applied for unemployment) does, what exactly? puts thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands or even millions of people out on the streets.

it's not fair to the property owners? what exactly are the property owners going to do? they aren't going to be able to find people to fill all of the vacancies. they certainly aren't going to be able to earn money on their properties if they're empty any more than if they're occupied by tenants that can't pay. they also have better chances in obtaining assistance from banks who are forbearing mortgage payments. and they just might be in need of a bailout (like everyone else).

property owners aren't more important than the people who rent from them.
it's a no win situation for everyone. there is no precedent.

11

@3 - this is in line with Sawant's plan to crater property values. The idea is that if you can't make a buck renting out property, no one will be willing to pay much for it and houses will become dirt cheap somehow. She seems unconcerned by the middle class who will see the value of the largest (perhaps only) asset destroyed.

@10 - fair point that pepe who have no money won't be able to pay. But a whole lot of those who are unemployed now will not be in a few months. It is way early to propose this kind of sweeping program that goes out that far in time. Property owners aren't LESS important than the people who rent from them, either.

Realistically, very few people would have their rental property foreclosed if they missed one mortgage payment. But this legislation is setting out a long enough time frame that they would lose their income for most of a year, and the building would sure as hell be foreclosed by then. Do you think the banks who own the building after it is foreclosed are gong to give the tenants a better deal?

@6 - exactly right this is a society-wide problem and it needs to be taken care of by society. Having the Revolutionary Council put the whole thing on the backs of a small number of property owners no matter the impact on them is some serious Third World shit.

12

@3 Are you going to buy a building that doesn't earn income? Naw, me either. I'd rather spend my money on single malt.

The banks and other lending institutions will own the buildings. The small banks will fail. The large banks will be bailed out by the Federal money machine. (Don't worry about the 1%. They'll be just fine.) Of course, nobody will maintain anything. Outraged Stranger editorials to follow. The properties will slowly turn to dirt.

I'll miss Seattle. I really will.

13

@12 - exactly. Comrade Sawant's plan in motion. Foreclosed buildings will be worth next to nothing. Soon every working class person will be owner of own apartment building. Big trouble for landlord and bank.

14

Landlords will sue the city and the law will be overturned on appeal.

15

From a purely anecdotal standpoint - not a legislative standpoint - Of all the landlords or property management companies of various sizes, they have all, without fail, tried to screw me out every last penny they could. Even after reminding them of pertinent state and city regulations - and I'm sure many, many other individuals/tenants have similar experiences throughout Seattle and the state. So again, from a non-regulatory standpoint, I have little to no sympathy for landlords and property management companies - regardless of our current crisis, as a general group, landlords and property managers have basically had the entirety of human civilization to sow any semblance of "seeds of goodwill" throughout societies, and to be able to reap the benefits of public sympathy during troubled times. Whatever protections are afforded to landlords and property owners by city and state regulations should be applied appropriately under the law of course, but again, in general this group is unlikely to receive and on the whole undeserving of public sympathy.

16

How typically short-sighted of the SCC. Many people will not be able to (or simply won't) payback the missed payments, placing all of the onus on the landlords to deal with something that is not their fault and enacted by the city. Those who don't or can't make back the payments? Good fucking luck ever getting rented to again except for maybe in one of Sawant's government projects that MIGHT get built in 4 years.
If you don't think these assholes are in-bed with large developers, wake the fuck up. Forcing all of the debt on landlords will make smaller properties disappear and be purchased, torn down, and built anew as the characterless luxury buildings and townhomes you all loathe. When they started up-zoning my neighborhood arguing that density would make prices drop, they tore down all the would-be starter homes and built luxury townhomes three to a lot.
I'd believe the council had good intentions if they had any fucking plan whatsoever on how they were going to help property owners pay their mortgage.
Oh, also this area saw the biggest jump in homeowners unable to pay their mortgages but the SCC gives a fuck about you if you happen to own your home instead of rent it.
They constantly act without thinking one fucking move ahead.

I'm not paying my City Light bill or my property taxes because, fuck it; why not?

17

I hate to say this and I'm not in the Seattle City Limits, but I have a fully contained 1000sf guest house that we plan to rent out finally. If it were in Seattle we would be extremely picky about renters and likely only advertise to friends or those with phenomenal references. Ending up with a recalcitrant is possible under the current climate. My worry is that many landlords think alike and this shuts the door for many middle/lower income renters.

18

The market in Seattle has been pretty kind to property owners for the past decade, the idea that this is going to cause some kind of mass bankruptcy is ridiculous. There will probably be some sales, but not at the kind of scale that is going to tank the market. I'd suspect most of these will be accidental landlords who just felt dealing with the city isn't worth it, not people who are forced to sell, refinancing can easily cover a year's lost rent.

The real impact is that building in Seattle will be seen to carry unpredictable risks. It'll just take a couple of those new apartment buildings to be handed back to the banks before the cost of financing new projects will become prohibitive. There isn't any new land to build on, so not many new houses are being built. Condos, with the exception of a few luxury projects, aren't feasible because of state liability laws. This has meant that new housing in Seattle comes from big apartment buildings. If the city shuts off financing for these, they are completely shutting down the supply part of the supply/demand equation, the thing that has slowed the increase in rents for the past couple of years. About the best the city can hope for is that job growth will evaporate to keep demand down, which to be fair, several city council members are doing their best to ensure.

21

@19: I was referring to tapping your equity when refinancing. And yes, I know there are a small percent of landlords who don't have any equity to speak of. But this is Seattle and the market has been good, so those numbers should be small.

22

Thanks to state UI + the extra $600/week Federal Pandemic assistance, many people are making more sitting on their butts than they were working. It's no wonder no one is in a hurry to take the jobs being offered right now by grocery stores and Amazon.

And now the Clowncil has basically told everyone they can stiff the landlord for a year.

Free rent, free money, and legal weed. The slacker millenial's dream!

FREEATTLE, bitches!!!!! Dig it and pass the doobie!

23

so of course the city is going to waive all property taxes, licensing fees, etc for the next year, right? right? oh, never mind....

24

Maybe the SCC will pass an ordinance that restaurants can open but the patrons don't have to pay until next year. I mean just look at those fancy restaurants and their expensive prices, they can afford it.

27

@3 "It doesn't really matter if the landlords fold, somebody will repossess and resell the buildings and the rental stock will remain. The buildings aren't going anywhere."

Have you not seen this city in the past decade? The landlord of a small, older apartment building sells; it gets torn down and three luxury townhomes go up. Or a modest, affordable single-family home gets torn down to build a box mansion. The buildings do go somewhere -- to people who can afford a million-dollar home. The renters of those previously modest, more affordable buildings -- bye.

28

@26 Don't worry. I'm sure the council will come up with a bill to ban credit score checks soon enough. I'm surprised they haven't already.

30

9

Hey!

I resemble that remark...

31

@30- ha! I remember that, santorum's office, wasn't it?

32

@21 - anyone who bought a rental place with a mortgage in the last couple of years likely has very little equity over what they need to secure the loan. And they are also working on a pretty thin cash-flow margin. Buildings tend to sell for something that reflects what the rental income will be.

@26 - the City Council's actions have ALREADY hurt marginal renters. The first in time ordinance is a huge disincentive to renting to those with low credit scores, coming out of bad circumstances & rebuilding, had a previous bankruptcy, etc. Same with the no criminal background check rule.

Things that are on average huge red flags are also factors that might not disqualify someone if you could consider them individually. Maybe that sub-600 credit score does not reflect a career of not paying your bills, but because the tenant is recently divorced and building up her own credit rating. Or they have not been in the country all that long so don't have much of a paper record here. The eviction might be because the ex-boyfriend/girlfriend was selling drugs in the previous place.

There are any number of things that you might be willing to excuse if you can consider tenants as individuals. The problem is that under first-in-time, you can only rely on your stated qualifications to try to exclude the bad ones. MOST of the time, that 600 (or lower) score DOES reflect a poor record of paying one's debts. Most of the time, the eviction was the tenant's fault. etc. etc. The only real defense a landlord has against problem tenants now is to keep the qualifications high enough such that they can't possibly qualify.

Same with criminal background checks. I can pretty much promise you that the existing tenants in a building really don't want a burglar, or someone with a record of serious assault moving in next to them. We can't do the check and weed those people out now. What we can do is to set the qualifications for credit scores, employment history, etc. high enough so that if you took a few years off for a state-sponsored vacation, you probably can't qualify.

This sucks for the guy who made a mistake, did his time, and is truly getting his life back together. He deserves a place to live like anyone else. But he's getting excluded along with the less-deserving person with the long record of property theft or assaults. But it's really the only choice now. I am not willing to risk the liability for having a tenant whose record indicates that they may be a danger (or even a big annoyance) to the others.

And then there is the "just-cause" eviction law, and the lifetime rent break that the Council just gave out. Once someone is in an apartment, it is very hard to get them out if they prove to be a problem. Not paying rent (in other words, breaking the most basic part of the bargain a tenant makes) was one very reasonable grounds for doing so. Now that that tool is also gone, I am not willing to take a chance on someone with a bad financial record that I can't look into. Again, the solution is high standards such that anyone in a precarious position can't even get in the door. It ought to be obvious to our glorious revolutionary leaders that these are going to be the consequences.

33

A reasonably well functioning residential real estate investment will have a cash flow (pre-tax) of 5% of equity. So let's say you put in $300,000 hard earned equity for an investment property. Your annual cash flow is $15,000. WOOHOO! For many small investors the early years of an apartment investment will have a negative cash flow. That means they are feeding the investment. They use the loss to shelter their regular income. You need not be good at math to see that it won't take long providing folks free places to live that the whole show collapses and the bank takes back the property, the owner loses their equity, and then what? The small investors will abandon the market, and no one will be willing to buy except the most hard edged and ruthless operators. This is a good result?

34

I’ve been a property manager and leasing agent for quite a few companies in Seattle, and I can personally attest to the fact that they all have MILLIONS of money in the bank, they live in exorbitant homes outside Seattle, and are extremely stingy with their money (refusals to build fences or gates to parking areas for tenant’s safety, etc).

I’ve been in the meetings, and they all talk about how they could afford to not rent for years. And these are small companies too.

I’ve since quit the industry and will refuse to pay rent so long as there’s a chance I will get Corona outside. The terms of life are altered in this emergency, and to expect everyone to just adhere to normal rules when nothing is normal right now is not just absurd, but completely lacking in deep thought or compassion for your fellow man. Big surprise that capitalist brainwashed boomers are sounding off about how the poor landlords won’t get their 300% over CMA apartment rent every month.

Just a reminder, even fascist Italy and NatSoc Germany had free healthcare and assured housing for their citizens.

Where does that put you?

36

@35

OK Boomer

37

@34- are fascist Italy and Nazi Germany really good examples to hold up for anything? And your "all have MILLIONS" in the bank histrionics sound like nothing but jealousy, the hallmark any good socialist.

38

@36. Wow! That was a well-though-out counterpoint. A unique intelligent response that has never been used before and contains so much high IQ content. Well done!