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Seattle's COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired on February 28, 2022. Please read Mayor Harrell's latest eviction moratorium announcement.

What does this mean for renters, landlords, and property managers?
Renters continue to have a number of eviction protections detailed below. Landlords are able to proceed with certain evictions but should have a good understanding of the process and what is and is not allowed. The City and our partners can help renters and landlords understand their rights, responsibilities, and available resources.

Eviction Protections, Responsibilities, and Common Answers

Additional Protections

Seattle provides additional eviction protection for qualified renters after the moratorium expires. Some examples are:

  • COVID-related inability to pay: limits eviction of tenants with delinquent rent accrued between March 3, 2020 and up to 6 months after the end of the moratorium/civil emergency.
  • School Year Eviction Protections: limits eviction from September to June based on the Seattle Public Schools calendar for households with students (childcare - under 18), educators, and employees of schools.
  • Right to Counsel: Renters in Seattle facing an eviction who cannot afford an attorney can get free legal support through the Housing Justice Project (HJP).
  • If you get an eviction notice, call the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684-5700. We will review your notice to see if it complies with City regulations and refer you to resources.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the eviction moratorium over?
    The eviction moratorium expired on February 28, 2022.
  2. What will happen on February 28 when the moratorium expires?
    Seattle landlords will be legally allowed to resume serving notices to their tenants and filing unlawful detainers (eviction lawsuits) in court. Renters still have many eviction protections and a right to legal counsel if they cannot afford an attorney.
  3. What should I do if my landlord serves me a 14 Day Pay or Vacate or other type of notice?
    First, call our Renting in Seattle helpline at (206) 684-5700 and report that you have a notice from your landlord. We will review the notice to make sure it includes all the required information. If it is incorrect, we will require the landlord to rescind it. If it is correct, we will refer you to the Housing Justice Project (HJP) for legal counsel.
  4. Are there any payment plans available if I am way behind in rent?
    Landlords are required to offer you a feasible payment plan with any 14 Day Pay or Vacate notice they serve. You have a defense to eviction if you are behind on rent if you certify your economic hardship due to the impacts of the pandemic. The Housing Justice Project (HJP) can advise you on your rights and guide you through the process.
  5. Are there other eviction protections?
    Yes, all rental agreements in Seattle are regulated by the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance which requires a landlord to have one of 16 specific causes to end your rental agreement or decline to renew your lease. Your landlord must state the specific cause/s and facts to support the notice they serve you. Additionally, Seattle has defenses to eviction that apply during winter (December 1 - March 1) for income-qualified tenants that are eligible. This protection also exists during the Seattle school year (September - June) for households with children in school (daycare - high school) as well as staff, and employees of schools.
  6. What should I do if I am being evicted but I can't afford an attorney?
    Seattle has the right to counsel, which means any tenant that is served a court document called a "summons and complaint" (eviction lawsuit) and cannot afford an attorney has the right to free legal counsel. The City partners with the Housing Justice Project (HJP) to ensure every tenant has access to a defense attorney.

Additional Assistance

Seattle has longstanding requirements for landlords during the eviction process, and it is strongly recommended to consult with an expert such as an attorney or landlord organization to understand current rules.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does the eviction moratorium prohibit all evictions?
    The COVID-19 eviction moratorium bans all evictions except where a tenant poses an imminent threat to health and safety. This includes issuing termination notices or threatening to evict until after February 28, 2022.
  2. What is considered an imminent threat to health and safety?
    An imminent threat exists when there is reasonable certainty that a tenant poses a serious risk to the health and safety of the landlord, or other tenants in the building. Whether something is an imminent threat is ultimately a decision for the court. If you issue a 3 Day Quit notice for criminal activity a copy must be sent with supporting facts timely to SDCI for review and recording.
  3. What can I do when the moratorium is over?
    You can legally resume serving your tenant notices and proceed with eviction. Ensure your eviction is allowed under Seattle’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance and you must include all required information and language on your notice or it could be rescinded. You should also know about additional protections, called defenses to eviction, that qualifying tenants may raise in the eviction process. We recommend you consult with an attorney before proceeding with any eviction action.
  4. Can I evict now for non-payment?
    You can serve a 14 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate to your tenant. However, your tenant can raise a defense to eviction in court for non-payment due to the impacts of the pandemic if they certify their financial hardship. Remember to include an offer of a payment plan for rent arrears with the notice. Consult legal counsel for how to proceed.
  5. What do the recently passed winter eviction and school year eviction protections mean for landlords when the COVID-19 moratorium ends?
    Unlike the eviction moratorium, the school year and winter regulations on evictions do not prevent an owner from issuing a termination notice or filing an unlawful detainer (eviction lawsuit). Eligible tenants can raise a defense to eviction during the coldest weather months and during the Seattle school year.
  6. Who is eligible to raise these eviction defenses?
    Tenants that fell behind on their rent during the pandemic, income qualified renters vulnerable to eviction during winter (December 1 - March 1) and households with children (daycare - high school) employees and support staff of schools during the Seattle school year (September - June).
  7. Where can I go for help to understand all these City rental regulations?
    Call the Renting in Seattle helpline at (206) 684-5700 for technical assistance. Our compliance analysts are available to help guide you through the requirements and answer any questions you may have. View more landlord resources.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not and is not intended to represent legal advice. All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

Renting in Seattle

Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98124
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-5700
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The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) includes permitting, construction inspections, code compliance and tenant protections, and rental housing registration and inspections.