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Council’s rental rules to become law without mayor signature

June 24, 2021 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — Several Seattle City Council bills surrounding rental housing will become law without Mayor Jenny Durkan’s signature.

Durkan declined to sign the bills, citing legality concerns, The Seattle Times reported. She also declined to veto the bills, predicting the council would override vetoes.

The first bill will establish a defense against evictions during school years for children and students, for their guardians and for educators — including evictions for missed rent. Tenants will be able to cite the bill in eviction court.

The second bill will require landlords to offer new leases to tenants with fixed-term leases before their existing leases expire, unless there are separate reasons the tenants can be evicted.

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The third bill will establish a defense against evictions based on rent debts incurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tenant advocacy organizations backed the bills, arguing the new protections will help tenants stay in their homes. Some property owners opposed the bills, arguing they will cause some small landlords to quit the rental market.

The bills will take effect next month.

“While we all have the same goals to prevent evictions, it is regrettable that City Council has passed these bills despite receiving legal advice that they are unlikely to withstand legal challenge,” Durkan wrote in a June 18 letter.