On February 10th, 2020 Seattle City Council decided to approve the proposal of banning evictions in the months of December, January, and February. The purpose for the ban was hopefully to improve the homeless epidemic in Seattle as well as to avoid putting more people out on the streets in the harsh winter months. To me, this sounds like a band-aid for our large number of homeless people, and is only redirecting the problem on other people, specifically the landlords.
According to Fox Business, even Seattle’s mayor was against this notion. Jenny Durkan says that a lawsuit is almost inevitable, thus eventually falling on the taxpayers. To me, this law seems absolutely ridiculous. It’s unfair to landlords, why would renters not take advantage of being able to push back the day their rent is due? Renters who engage in criminal activity, or have repeatedly made their neighbors unsafe will be exempt from this though, meaning that they can get kicked out if needed.
The council has considered the rights of the landlords, but for me, not enough. Why is the government allowing people to not pay their rent to landlords who might need it to put food on their table? For some landlords, that is their source of income, or a large portion of it.
But, according to The Seattle Times, small landlords are exempt from this. This is a step in the right direction, but I still don’t believe its fair to basically withhold paychecks to working people, because in a sense, that rent is their paycheck.
In the council’s eyes they might seem that these requirements for tenants are a protection of landlords, but I think they will actually cause more issues. Some landlords might see this notion as a threat and start evicting tenants out of fear that they will have to house them during the winter months, thus creating a cycle of fear of getting evicted for the tenants as well. Even if your landlord is slightly suspicious you might get behind on your rent, what’s keeping them from kicking you out? Having to house you in the winter- for free at that point- will only cost them money.
This might also incline renters to create bad spending habits in the winter, since they can get behind on their rent without the fatal consequence of getting evicted.
“This seems pretty unfair to landlords, considering that they are basically in a lose-lose situation,” said senior Zach Stone, “It sounds like it will cost them money either way.”
It seems like this banning is just a stab at landowners in an attempt to solve homelessness, which doesn’t start with people that already have homes. Homelessness can and should be solved in different ways that start with the source, the lack of employment and the high housing prices in Seattle. The homelessness epidemic starts with the fact that some people in Seattle, even people that have jobs, are struggling to pay their high rents.
“There is a huge homelessness problem in Seattle,” said senior Megan Richmond “everywhere you look there’s someone sleeping on a bench or on the corner with a sign. I’m not sure if this is the right step towards solving homelessness but at least they are taking a step.”