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Record No: CB 120330    Version: Council Bill No: CB 120330
Type: Ordinance (Ord) Status: Passed
Current Controlling Legislative Body City Clerk
On agenda: 5/24/2022
Ordinance No: Ord 126593
Title: AN ORDINANCE relating to just cause eviction: changing the terms of certain eviction defenses; and amending Sections 22.205.090 and 22.205.100 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
Sponsors: Kshama Sawant, Tammy J. Morales
Supporting documents: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note, 2. Signed Ordinance 126593
CITY OF SEATTLE
ORDINANCE __________________
COUNCIL BILL __________________
title
AN ORDINANCE relating to just cause eviction: changing the terms of certain eviction defenses; and amending Sections 22.205.090 and 22.205.100 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
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WHEREAS, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a decision in RHA v. Seattle on March 21, 2022 in response to a challenge to the City's winter eviction regulation, COVID-19 related repayment plan requirements, and the COVID-19 related defense to eviction now codified at Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Section 22.205.090 ("six-month defense"); and
WHEREAS, the Court of Appeals ruled that the six-month defense violates constitutional procedural due process guarantees because the defense does not afford landlords the opportunity to test the veracity of a tenant's self-certification of financial hardship; and
WHEREAS, the City disagrees with the Court of Appeals' ruling and has filed a motion for reconsideration that is pending in front of the Court of Appeals; and
WHEREAS, while the six-month defense remains in effect during the appellate process, to best ensure the effectiveness of the defense during its prescribed term (e.g., six months after the termination of the City's eviction moratorium, which ended on February 28, 2022), the Council is adopting these amendments to eliminate the due process issue identified by the Court of Appeals, both as to the six-month defense and, in an abundance of caution, as to the defense codified at SMC 22.205.100 ("civil emergency defense"); and
WHEREAS, the six-month defense and the civil emergency defense remain necessary because the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to significantly affect renters and their ability to pay rent; and
WHEREAS, the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic on tenants continue to be a particular concern given the decreasing availability of rental assistance; and
WHEREAS, the pandemic disproportionately impacts Black, Indig...

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