News & Resources

Seattle housing body oversees eviction cleanup

Feb 10, 2011 Matt Roesly

Meeting rent in Seattle, Washington, can be a daunting task for many tenants, but renters at one location faced such poor conditions that the agency overseeing housing in the city was forced to step in. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Department of Planning and Development had to intervene at an apartment complex where some "tenants" were living in filthy crawlspaces while paying up to $300 a month. The paper reports that citywide complaints about evictions jumped significantly in recent months, while there was a rise in the number of reports of tenants living in substandard conditions. Local industry analysts attribute the rise in both categories to the economy and tough background screening methods that may have forced tenants out of better living conditions. Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington State, told the PI that other factors are forcing tenants out, including landlords who evict renters rather than spend money to upgrade the property. Additionally, Grant noted that negative hits in a background screening have subjected would-be tenants to stricter consideration. RealtyTrac, which monitors foreclosure rates in the nation's major metropolitan areas, noted that Seattle witnessed the second-highest jump in eviction rates in 2010 - a 23 percent increase, behind only the Houston Metro area (26 percent).