FILE — Seattle tiny home village

A man walks past a city-sanctioned homeless encampment of micro-homes and tents in front of apartments and condos in Seattle. 

(The Center Square) – Seattle is the latest Washington city to extend its eviction moratorium through fall as the state moratorium nears its end.

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the news on Friday, marking the fifth time she has ordered the city's eviction ban extended since March 2020. Seattle's eviction ban will now expire on Sept. 30.

"While we continue to be in a state of emergency, this three-month extension will ensure we can provide the cash rental assistance and housing support that is critical to stabilizing the community as we reopen," Durkan said in a statement. 

Under the current moratorium, Seattle landlords are banned from issuing notices of termination or taking legal action through the courts, save for instances posing an imminent threat to the health and safety of the community.

According to legal help site NOLO, Seattle's eviction moratorium is longer than any similar eviction ban created by a state government. By comparison, New York state's eviction ban expires on August 31.

The cities of Kirkland and Kenmore have extended their eviction bans through Sept. 30. Kent, Bellevue and Burien are debating next steps.

Durkan's new order protects tenants from racking up late fees, interest, or other charges related to missed rental payments during the moratorium dating back to February 2020. Landlords are encouraged to offer flexible payment plans, though the city imposes no restrictions on pay rates. Tenants who owe back rent on the books will be legally obligated to pay once the moratorium is lifted.

Seattle's extended eviction moratorium adds to a number of housing protections passed by the city council in the past few weeks. They include a ban on evictions for families with school-age children during the school year, which starts before the current eviction moratorium. In 2020, the city council also banned most wintertime evictions from occurring between December 1 and March 1.

As one of the most expensive cities in America, Seattle is home to thousands of tenants who potentially face eviction. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of Washington households behind on rent stood at more than 126,000 in May. The Puget Sound is home to some 84,000 households in the same boat.

In Seattle, local utilities are also being directed to cease shut-offs to customers for missed payment through December 31.

Last fall, a coalition of Seattle-area landlords sued Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee over their respective moratoriums, citing constitutional issues. Others argue that the state has already paid out enough housing assistance to help get most tenants back on their feet. Crosscut reports King County has yet to pay out millions in the most recent federal aid passed by Congress last winter, leaving many tenants out in the cold. 

Inslee has not announced whether he intends to extend the statewide eviction moratorium set to expire on June 30, the same day the federal eviction moratorium is scheduled to end.