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Government

Mayor Harrell extends Seattle eviction bans, utility orders

People hold signs opposing evictions.
People hold signs opposing evictions in New York City.

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

Former Mayor Jenny Durkan had last extended the moratoriums to Jan. 15.

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

Harrell’s extension also directs Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities to continue to make flexible payment plans available and stop utility shut-offs for 90 days, until April 15.

The mayor, who took office last week, said that he would create a group of small landlords and tenant advocates to discuss the efficacy of the moratorium, in an effort to protect both groups.

“At the end of the day, here’s our value: We can’t have anyone suffer homelessness because of financial challenges,” Harrell said.

The mayor also plans to create an online portal for landlords and tenants to find city resources. Harrell’s order will not bar landlords from increasing rents.

Across the Seattle metro area, which includes Tacoma and Bellevue, an estimated 98,800 people — or 10% of renters — are behind on rent, according to a December U.S. Census survey.

Landlords have argued for months that the city’s moratorium should end.