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Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance

What Is It?

Our Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance requires developers to pay relocation assistance to low-income tenants who must move because their rental will:

  • Be torn down or undergo substantial renovation
  • Have its use changed (for example, from apartment to a commercial use or a nursing home)
  • Have certain use restrictions removed (for example a property is no longer required to rent only to low-income tenants under a federal program)

Our Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance advances the tenant protection and access goals of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA).

As a property or developer, you must get a Tenant Relocation License if your project meets the criteria listed above. The license covers all tenants in your building. Only your low-income tenants receive relocation assistance of $3,490.00. You pay half of that amount and the City of Seattle pays the other half. The income thresholds for relocation assistance eligibility are:

Household Size 50% of Area Median Income*
1 Person $33,600
2 People $38,400
3 People $43,200
4 People $48,000
5 People $51,850
6 People $55,700
7 People $59,550
8 People $63,400

 * 50% AMI published by HUD, effective April 14, 2017


We will not issue a master use, construction, demolition, or change of use permit for a property where tenants will be required to move until a Tenant Relocation License is issued.

You cannot raise the rent in order to avoid applying for a Tenant Relocation License.

Procedures and timelines:

  • Within 30 days of applying for a Tenant Relocation License, you must give each rental unit in the affected building a Tenant Information Packet. The packet contains process information, forms, and instructions for the tenants.
  • A tenant household has 30 days to apply for relocation assistance after receiving the Tenant Information Packet. Tenants can request a deadline extension for a good reason, which is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • All households in a rental building that submit complete Income Certification Forms (provided in the Tenant Information Packet) by the deadline will be notified in writing whether or not they are eligible to receive benefits.
  • We notify the owner or developer which households are eligible for assistance. You must deposit your share of the assistance with the City within 5 days of receiving the notice.
  • Both you and your tenant can appeal the eligibility decision to the City of Seattle Hearing Examiner.
  • After all appeals have been resolved, the owner or developer serves a notice on all tenant units, notifying them that the Tenant Relocation License will be issued in 90 days. After the 90 days is over, you can give the tenants notice to move out of their rental unit.

What It Isn't

The Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance applies only to tenant housing affected by construction, demolition, and other development. Other types of relocation assistance for tenants apply in different circumstances (see the common question page about tenant relocation).

We do not require a landlord to pay relocation assistance to a tenant who moves out because of a rent increase or who is evicted as a result of a court order in a legal eviction action.

Read the Code

Read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) section about the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance, SMC 22.210.

Proposed Changes


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