Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, South Seattle and the CID) and her Council colleagues passed her resolution calling on Gov. Inslee, federal legislators, and the Trump administration to use emergency powers to place a moratorium on commercial and residential rent and mortgage payments, providing necessary relief to thousands of Seattle residents and business owners struggling with the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis.
Morales’s resolution is part of a nationwide movement calling for relief for renters, landlords and homeowners with mortgages. In San Francisco, elected leaders introduced a resolution calling for a moratorium on rent and mortgage payments to provide relief to those economically impacted by California’s shelter-in-place order. Councilmember Morales joins San Francisco Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Dean Preston, and Matt Haney, as well as New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, in calling for a nationwide moratorium to help all residents and business owners impacted by this health crisis and the growing economic crisis.
“I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents asking for us to fight for them on this. Just over this weekend, I heard from 200 or so constituents who said that a moratorium on rent and mortgage would be the only way for them to survive this crisis. As elected leaders, we must be bold in fighting for the economic futures of renters, homeowners, property owners, and business owners,” said Morales. “I appreciate the Mayor’s support of a 60-day moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 loss of income. However, an eviction or foreclosure moratorium on it’s own won’t cut it when you have no income. Deferred rent or mortgage payments won’t cut it when you have no income. A one-time payment of $1,200 won’t cut it when you need to survive. We’re asking for State and Federal leaders to act on this so our constituents, and really all people in the US, don’t go into an economic crisis accruing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars of debt”
Forty-seven percent of Seattle area renters are rent burdened. This means those experiencing loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis are accumulating significant amounts of personal debt, putting them on unstable financial footing in the future. Morales’s resolution requests for a rent freeze, so all rent due is forgiven when the crisis is over.
Additionally, mortgage-holders are still obligated to pay their lenders, creating a financial crisis for homeowners and landlords, which is why Morales is also calling for relief from mortgage payments.
“I really welcome this resolution because it provides support for our movement of renters and working people, who are fighting for their rights during this pandemic,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), in support of Councilmember Morales’ resolution. “Last week, I sent two letters to Governor Inslee, and called for a suspension of rent and mortgage payments without adverse consequences like back payments or damage to credit rating. I also called for a rent freeze – no rent increases – through the end of 2020. Empowered by today’s resolution, I urge our movement to keep fighting in order to win this statewide suspension of rent and mortgage payments. Big banks, corporate landlords, and corporations like Amazon, whose billionaires have long exploited workers and renters, should pay for this crisis.”
The Council expressed support for additional moratoriums on residential rental and homeowner costs such as renters’ insurance, property tax, and mortgage insurance.
Morales acknowledged her appreciation of her Council colleagues who are also prioritizing the “protection of our neighbors.”
“We are all getting calls about the rent crisis – it’s the end of the month. And we have landlords who have tenants who can’t make rent, and mortgages that those same landlords still must pay. As tens of thousands of Seattleites are entering a recession — possibly worse — we must do something now to protect people who won’t be able to cover their debt later. That’s why we are pushing the Federal government to keep people in their homes where they are safest,” Morales said.
“This resolution is just a first step in a nationwide movement. We’ll have to organize together to make this happen at the State and Federal levels,” Morales said. “We must continue to keep up pressure, to share our stories, and call on more leaders to join this fight.”