Seattel Bans Evictions in winter!

96 Replies

@Ron Thoreson I wholeheartedly agree that Sawant is the worst thing to happen to Seattle for some time. That being said, Seattle is one of the major business capitols of the world, and will remain so once the current administration is long gone

@Joe P. Do you actually own rentals properties? I’d like to see you have a rental property with a mortgage and you get a deadbeat tenant that you are stuck with for 4-5 months, not paying rent and unable to evict. You still have to pay your mortgage, taking money out of your pocket and keeping you from providing for your family. Frankly, I consider that as theft. 

Originally posted by @Phil Wells :

Wow. I can foresee this leading to abuse in the system and unfair practices. 

Tenants may simply stop paying rent December 1st and then disappear March 1st.

Landlords are going to require perfect credit and higher security deposits. 

This is unlikely to help the people it's intended to protect.

Is there any rule in the world that cannot be foreseen to lead to abuse of the system and unfair practices? No. So what is the point of the comment?

It is human nature to try to get around the rules. The rich, the poor, the left, the right, everyone does it.

 

Originally posted by @Eric M. :
Originally posted by @Phil Wells:

Wow. I can foresee this leading to abuse in the system and unfair practices. 

Tenants may simply stop paying rent December 1st and then disappear March 1st.

Landlords are going to require perfect credit and higher security deposits. 

This is unlikely to help the people it's intended to protect.

Is there any rule in the world that cannot be foreseen to lead to abuse of the system and unfair practices? No. So what is the point of the comment?

It is human nature to try to get around the rules. The rich, the poor, the left, the right, everyone does it.

 

Hey Eric, Thanks for the reply. There's a difference, in my opinion, between rules that MAY be exploited for the benefit of one party and rules that WILL lead to abuse. In this instance the potential for abuse is higher than most rules. In addition, this will likely have the opposite outcome to the one the City officials are trying to effect as lower income individuals are priced out of the rental market due to landlords requiring higher deposits and higher credit scores to help mitigate risk.

 

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :

The left leaning commie states do offer appreciation that you won’t see in the Midwest but no one ever talks about how they are the first to get hammered  in a recession . Our prices in my area by all accounts stayed about the same regardless . I suppose the case can be made for any area . I for one don’t want the government telling me how to operate my business with their hand in my back pocket 

 This simply isnt true in the areas I am familiar with. The bay area, ca, Portland  OR  Seattle, WA etc are all high appreciation areas..... the trend line is up and this is why these kinds of laws exists , tenants can end up in the cross hairs of rapid appreciation situations. 

I wont bore you with all the money that has been made over the years for myself and those I know - you know, since it is all fiction.....  

Re Seattle the pending law has a carve out for smaller LLs with 5 or fewer units.  

Originally posted by @Dan Heuschele :
Originally posted by @Ron Hall:

@Patrick McGrath, cant say I like that, but it's not any different than utilities not being allowed to shut off in winter.

One big difference is there are many mom and pop (smaller operations) landlords.  I suspect there are not any mom and pop utility companies.  When a small time LL does not get paid, it can be challenging for them to meet their expenses (pay the mortgage).  That is not an issue with a utility company.

 There is a carve out for smaller LLs with 5 or fewer units 

Originally posted by @John Clark :

"many cities & municipalities have bans against what is called in the landlord world as 'winter evictions' for many years. Chicago & Washington DC are a few of many such cities."

------------------------------------

This is not entirely accurate in Chicago. The sheriff will not evict in Chicago when the temperature that day is expected to be below X degrees (I forget the exact number). Also, the sheriff will not evict around Christmas/New Years. It's not a law, it's a sheriff policy not to evict.

"Pursuant to the Court Order, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is prohibited from carrying out residential evictions when the outside temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or colder on the actual date of the eviction, or whenever regardless of the outside temperature, extreme weather conditions endanger the health and welfare of those to be evicted."

https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/eviction-schedule/



Last year they also stopped evictions between December 18th and January 2nd of 2020.

 

Originally posted by @Tallie Craigo :

@Joe P. Do you actually own rentals properties? I’d like to see you have a rental property with a mortgage and you get a deadbeat tenant that you are stuck with for 4-5 months, not paying rent and unable to evict. You still have to pay your mortgage, taking money out of your pocket and keeping you from providing for your family. Frankly, I consider that as theft. 

Yes, I have a duplex and I'm working on my 3rd door as we speak. Nobody disagrees that this is theft. In fact if you read my post, you'd see that this type of activity essentially would work ONCE, if at all. A tenant that plays this game once, will never be able to again. Why? Because you would still seek damages against them, judgements against them, work to garnish wages until you were made whole, etc.

That was my point about my earlier posts. First, the law is probably not going to get enacted, as it doesn't sound like it has mayoral approval. Second, lets say it does become a law and someone tries to take advantage of it...again...this person, lets call them Tenant John Smith, is going to have eviction against his record, eventually. John Smith will have judgements against him for non-payment of rent. John Smith may be reported to credit bureaus, bringing down his credit score. So while John Smith *might* have gotten away with this one time, he certainly wouldn't again if smart landlords screened properly, which is something I assume most of us do regardless of this law.

So, a majority of tenants are good people who won't game the system. It comes down to proper screening, calling references, etc. This law is not intended to tell landlords to shove their own boot up where the sun don't shine...its intended to protect folks who shouldn't be evicted for a variety of reasons. I don't AGREE with the law at all -- but the reactions to it are asinine. This is still America; understanding why someone would propose that type of all could help to contrive an ACTUAL solution -- in fact instead of bashing the law, I proposed a solution that would be SELF-SUSTAINING, helping people who might need the help, when they need the help...but also funding (and re-funding) the program.

I personally have no problem helping folks when they need help -- but also protecting myself and other investors from scammers. In a world where people work together, don't overreact (like the proposed law does, and the people looking at the proposed law are doing), we can achieve a lot and maintain that balance.

Hope that makes sense and clarifies it. I'm not advocating for bad tenants or giving away the farm. And this law, as written, is poorly done, and shouldn't be passed. But I can understand where it came from. I wish I lived in Seattle and could try to work with them on a solution. It sounds like some of you do...instead of hemming and hawing, pay your representatives a visit and help solution problems. We spend a lot of time blaming the other side of the aisle on problems, but real value comes from rolling up your sleeves on a solution.

Originally posted by @Joe P. :
Originally posted by @Tallie Craigo:

@Joe P. Do you actually own rentals properties? I’d like to see you have a rental property with a mortgage and you get a deadbeat tenant that you are stuck with for 4-5 months, not paying rent and unable to evict. You still have to pay your mortgage, taking money out of your pocket and keeping you from providing for your family. Frankly, I consider that as theft. 

Yes, I have a duplex and I'm working on my 3rd door as we speak. Nobody disagrees that this is theft. In fact if you read my post, you'd see that this type of activity essentially would work ONCE, if at all. A tenant that plays this game once, will never be able to again. Why? Because you would still seek damages against them, judgements against them, work to garnish wages until you were made whole, etc.

That was my point about my earlier posts. First, the law is probably not going to get enacted, as it doesn't sound like it has mayoral approval. Second, lets say it does become a law and someone tries to take advantage of it...again...this person, lets call them Tenant John Smith, is going to have eviction against his record, eventually. John Smith will have judgements against him for non-payment of rent. John Smith may be reported to credit bureaus, bringing down his credit score. So while John Smith *might* have gotten away with this one time, he certainly wouldn't again if smart landlords screened properly, which is something I assume most of us do regardless of this law.

So, a majority of tenants are good people who won't game the system. It comes down to proper screening, calling references, etc. This law is not intended to tell landlords to shove their own boot up where the sun don't shine...its intended to protect folks who shouldn't be evicted for a variety of reasons. I don't AGREE with the law at all -- but the reactions to it are asinine. This is still America; understanding why someone would propose that type of all could help to contrive an ACTUAL solution -- in fact instead of bashing the law, I proposed a solution that would be SELF-SUSTAINING, helping people who might need the help, when they need the help...but also funding (and re-funding) the program.

I personally have no problem helping folks when they need help -- but also protecting myself and other investors from scammers. In a world where people work together, don't overreact (like the proposed law does, and the people looking at the proposed law are doing), we can achieve a lot and maintain that balance.

Hope that makes sense and clarifies it. I'm not advocating for bad tenants or giving away the farm. And this law, as written, is poorly done, and shouldn't be passed. But I can understand where it came from. I wish I lived in Seattle and could try to work with them on a solution. It sounds like some of you do...instead of hemming and hawing, pay your representatives a visit and help solution problems. We spend a lot of time blaming the other side of the aisle on problems, but real value comes from rolling up your sleeves on a solution.

What you are completely missing is that in these places, they are also enacting laws that make it unlawful to discriminate against these prior transgressions.  I believe Seattle already has a law that requires landlords to rent to the first qualified applicant, not the most qualified applicant. Here in NY they just passed a law that makes it unlawful for LLs to deny an applicant based on prior evictions. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

You probably haven't had to go through this yet, but getting a judgement/lien/wage garnishment against deadbeat tenants is throwing good money after bad.  You will never collect what you are owed in almost all cases.  You will not be made "whole", as you suggest.  Again, you haven't had that cold, hard dose of reality yet, so I can understand your misguided faith in the judicial system.

Landlording is a business.  And people are pi***d because these laws create significant additional business risk with absolutely no upside for the business owner.

 

Originally posted by @Steve K. :

Quick evictions in the middle of the winter aren't a critical part of my business model. I've found evictions to be a small (and unfortunate) part of running rental properties personally; I've only had a handful over many years of owning and managing. Problem tenants almost always agree to leave prior to actually having to be evicted in my experience, as the feeling is usually mutual. So although the trend of evictions taking longer and costing more nationwide isn't necessarily something I agree 100% with, it's not something I'm losing any sleep over or getting all butt-hurt and angry about either. Get rid of problem tenants in the summer months. Not that big of a deal. 

I find it funny when people come on here to ask which state has the best laws for landlords, as if they're only going to invest in landlord-friendly states. Seriously how many evictions are you people planning on doing? If a 30-day eviction vs. a 60-day eviction is that critical to running your rental business, you're doing something wrong in my opinion.

Meanwhile, as @Russell Brazil deftly pointed out, the most profitable states to own rentals in are actually more typically tenant-friendly states, because those tend to be the highest appreciation markets. So it might actually make more sense to ask which states are the most tenant-friendly, and invest there. Screening well and avoiding evictions is good business in any market, and money can be made in any market regardless of landlord-tenant laws.     

I'm guessing that your rentals are predominantly in A/B+ areas. Just because you are not seeing it and it is not hurting your business plan, doesn't mean it's not a widespread issue for the housing market in general. 

Everyone needs a place to live and sometimes people need second chances. Roughly a 1/3 of the US has less than "good" credit and about 10% of the US has no credit at all. Additionally, here in Cook County, IL the "housing is a right" movement nearly eliminated the effectiveness of background checks. Essentially, you can only consider the last three years and even then, only in certain circumstances can you block a applicant.

The eviction rate is undoubtedly a lot higher in the C/D areas as they tend to cater to tenants that fall more frequently into the preceding criteria. 6 month evictions (3 month legal, 3 month waiting for sheriff, or more) for problem tenants make the good tenants leave. This is more than a business plan and dollars and cents issue. This is about changing neighborhoods, the right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of your/tenant home(s), and holding people accountable for there actions (or lack there of). Not to mention, waiting three months for a sheriff to come out is fundamentally unfair on the scales of justice and enables a 'playing of the system'. It also re-balances part of the monetary burden onto already an already more impoverished area (factoring higher costs into rent for vacancy/legal).

A shorter legal timeline and privatization of the sheriff's services to take possession of the property within is a win/win.

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

You probably haven't had to go through this yet, but getting a judgement/lien/wage garnishment against deadbeat tenants is throwing good money after bad.  You will never collect what you are owed in almost all cases.  You will not be made "whole", as you suggest.  Again, you haven't had that cold, hard dose of reality yet, so I can understand your misguided faith in the judicial system.

Pretty much.  I'm not well versed in this stuff and not an attorney so this isn't any sort of legal knowledge, it's just my layman's opinion.  

I understand that it's impractical to enforce collections on a judgment from someone who doesn't have any money because even if they wanted to they couldn't pay.  You could spend thousands getting a judgment only to not be able to collect on it.  So now you're out the money you are owed plus whatever you paid your attorney.  You could have the judgment show up on their credit report but so what?  You still don't get any money.  They could also just discharge the judgment through bankruptcy.  

Judgments can be effective vs. people with financial means.  Decent jobs, savings, real estate--in other words, the ability to pay back the debt--but you aren't likely to find those type of people getting evicted.  Against poor tenants with little to no money, no job, no real estate, and nothing for the creditor to take, there's just no way to collect.  Certain assets are protected from creditors.  A judge isn't going to allow a creditor to take everything the debtor owns or throw them in jail for being poor. We don't have debtor's prisons in the US.

Originally posted by @Joseph Konney :
Originally posted by @Steve K.:

Quick evictions in the middle of the winter aren't a critical part of my business model. I've found evictions to be a small (and unfortunate) part of running rental properties personally; I've only had a handful over many years of owning and managing. Problem tenants almost always agree to leave prior to actually having to be evicted in my experience, as the feeling is usually mutual. So although the trend of evictions taking longer and costing more nationwide isn't necessarily something I agree 100% with, it's not something I'm losing any sleep over or getting all butt-hurt and angry about either. Get rid of problem tenants in the summer months. Not that big of a deal. 

I find it funny when people come on here to ask which state has the best laws for landlords, as if they're only going to invest in landlord-friendly states. Seriously how many evictions are you people planning on doing? If a 30-day eviction vs. a 60-day eviction is that critical to running your rental business, you're doing something wrong in my opinion.

Meanwhile, as @Russell Brazil deftly pointed out, the most profitable states to own rentals in are actually more typically tenant-friendly states, because those tend to be the highest appreciation markets. So it might actually make more sense to ask which states are the most tenant-friendly, and invest there. Screening well and avoiding evictions is good business in any market, and money can be made in any market regardless of landlord-tenant laws.     

I'm guessing that your rentals are predominantly in A/B+ areas. Just because you are not seeing it and it is not hurting your business plan, doesn't mean it's not a widespread issue for the housing market in general. 

Everyone needs a place to live and sometimes people need second chances. Roughly a 1/3 of the US has less than "good" credit and about 10% of the US has no credit at all. Additionally, here in Cook County, IL the "housing is a right" movement nearly eliminated the effectiveness of background checks. Essentially, you can only consider the last three years and even then, only in certain circumstances can you block a applicant.

The eviction rate is undoubtedly a lot higher in the C/D areas as they tend to cater to tenants that fall more frequently into the preceding criteria. 6 month evictions (3 month legal, 3 month waiting for sheriff, or more) for problem tenants make the good tenants leave. This is more than a business plan and dollars and cents issue. This is about changing neighborhoods, the right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of your/tenant home(s), and holding people accountable for there actions (or lack there of). Not to mention, waiting three months for a sheriff to come out is fundamentally unfair on the scales of justice and enables a 'playing of the system'. It also re-balances part of the monetary burden onto already an already more impoverished area (factoring higher costs into rent for vacancy/legal).

A shorter legal timeline and privatization of the sheriff's services to take possession of the property within is a win/win.

I wish I only had Class A/B+!! My properties were C- on purchase but are slowly getting better thankfully. Only one building, a triplex, would be considered  B+/A. So I'm no stranger to evictions unfortunately. As far as your broader points about how increased regulation could have the opposite of the intended effect and negatively impact neighborhoods: solid points all very well said and you're preaching to the choir. 

My post was not meant to support any new restrictions but rather to temper what I feel are overly reactionary comments in this thread. As a landlord I'm generally not in favor of new restrictions on landlords. But for me evicting in winter is the nuclear option already: I like having the ability, but I almost never exercise it. In the few instances when I have done so, we had to lower our usual standards to find new tenants because good renters are much harder to find during the time of year when nobody wants to move. Of course there are instances where it's a "sooner the better" situation, and it's nice to be able to evict quickly in those rare cases, but it's usually possible to ride it out until spring like I'm doing with a tenant right now, so that I will have 20 highly qualified applicants to choose from to replace her instead of 1-2 barely qualified/unqualified options that I may have to evict. 

That said, I agree with you on how banning winter evictions could contribute to the issue of housing being increasingly unaffordable, as increased costs for landlords almost always get passed on to renters. I also appreciate you sharing the negative impact of excessive regulation in your market. I like to think I could run a successful business even in the most "tenant friendly" area as my main goal is to avoid evictions/turnover in general. I also believe that markets adapt, and it does seem like the areas with the most restrictions are also some of the strongest markets (NY, SF, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, all these areas are heavily regulated markets yet many landlords in these places do quite well despite the tight restrictions). So I don't think the sky will fall if this passes. But I guess that's easy for me to say coming from Colorado which is one of the most landlord friendly states, so I respect your point of view.

 

Originally posted by @Dave E. :

@Patrick McGrath

I have to say I’m surprised by many of the responses to this post. Part of being a landlord is accepting some responsibility for the people that live in our properties. To sit here and blame the tenants and the government is simply ridiculous. Not that they don’t do things wrong, and that there aren’t bad apples out there, but part of that is up to you. Know your market. Screen your tenants. Actually check their references. Understand the risks. Period.

To whine complain and point fingers is a complete waste of time and energy. The numbers either work out and support the risk or they don’t. It’s that simple. Keep the emotion, the ignorance, and the politics out of it.

Many of the responses to this post don’t belong on BP. Keep them on Twitter with the rest of the insanity. This is supposed to be a place to network and share info. Not to whine and complain. Get it together people.

🤣 how many places do you own in Chicago?  

Originally posted by @Joe P. :
Originally posted by @Dave Erickson:

@Patrick McGrath

I have to say I’m surprised by many of the responses to this post. Part of being a landlord is accepting some responsibility for the people that live in our properties. To sit here and blame the tenants and the government is simply ridiculous. Not that they don’t do things wrong, and that there aren’t bad apples out there, but part of that is up to you. Know your market. Screen your tenants. Actually check their references. Understand the risks. Period.

To whine complain and point fingers is a complete waste of time and energy. The numbers either work out and support the risk or they don’t. It’s that simple. Keep the emotion, the ignorance, and the politics out of it.

Many of the responses to this post don’t belong on BP. Keep them on Twitter with the rest of the insanity. This is supposed to be a place to network and share info. Not to whine and complain. Get it together people.

You are spot on. Goes to show you political beliefs have now transcended rational thinking, education, and intelligence.

Instead of taking a rational approach to this story, perhaps understanding the root of the law, how it would actually happen if rubber hits the road, how to counter the law itself or open dialogue from parties, or even how it might not even happen given the Mayor doesn't support it, people jump to conclusion, wrap it around 'Merica being great or something, and then hit send.

People are acting like every single tenant in Seattle will be taking advantage of this. The reality is, 99% (or something in the high 90s) of people are just good people, from all walks of life. They pay their bills, they go to work, they're good citizens. This law, even if it gets enacted, is not going to change that. IF someone takes advantage of it, the landlord has recourse. You still owe the rent. You can still have a judgement against you. Your wages can still be garnished. An eviction will still go against your record, thereby signaling to future landlords that you either failed or decided to pay your rent and were evicted and/or had judgement against you. There are repercussions to all actions, including refusing to pay your bills.

I'd like to personally write this information on a baseball bat and swing it at some folks' head, because I believe that's what its going to take to get it through their thick skulls. But now I'm venturing into Twitter land with comments like that. :)

what’s your average unit cost in philly? How many do you own? Just looking for some insight. Thanks