Mayor Harrell extends Seattle eviction bans, utility orders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said Wednesday he would issue an executive order extending the city’s eviction moratoriums for residents, small businesses and nonprofits for an additional 30 days through February 14, as the pandemic continues.

Former Mayor Jenny Durkan last extended the moratoria to January 15, the Seattle Times reported.

The moratoria on most residential evictions and some commercial evictions were imposed in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Harrell’s renewal also instructs Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities to continue to provide flexible payment plans and to halt utility closings for 90 days through April 15.

The mayor, who took office last week, said he would set up a group of small landlords and tenant lawyers to discuss the effectiveness of the moratorium to protect both groups.

“Ultimately, here is our value: We cannot let financial challenges make someone homeless,” said Harrell.

The mayor also plans to set up an online portal for landlords and tenants to find city resources. Harrell’s order does not prevent landlords from increasing rents.

Across the metropolitan area of ​​Seattle, which also includes Tacoma and Bellevue, an estimated 98,800 people – or 10% of renters – are behind on rents, according to a December US census survey.

Landlords have been arguing for months that the city’s moratorium should be ended.