The Seattle City Council has approved rules to create rent installment payment plans between renters and landlords to pay back rent that has become overdue during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a release.
Council Bill 119788 creates rental-payment plans on a specific installment schedule, setting tenants on a path toward becoming current on overdue rent and meeting their contractual obligations.
“I’ve heard from many renters that are worried about a lump sum due once moratoriums on evictions are lifted,” said Council President M. Lorena González in the release.
“Coupled with Seattle’s defense for evictions, this legislation gives renters more time to become current on their rent, and clearly spells out payment plans between renters and landlords based on a best practice already being used by the industry.
“Those that are able to pay their rent, should. But for those who face financial hardships and are unable to pay their rent, this legislation will ensure that tenants can stay in their homes and landlords can be made financially whole. For every eviction we’re able to prevent, that means more stability for workers and families who need more time to find their footing as our region recovers from this health crisis and the economic fallout,” González said.
Rent installment payment plan
The legislation was drafted in collaboration with Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), who proposed tenants should not have to pay late fees and interest associated with non-payment of rent for a year to provide tenants more time to recover.
“Local and state eviction moratoriums have encouraged tenants to work on developing payment plans with their landlords, without providing details or advice. This legislation is a common-sense approach that gives more concrete guidance through a default plan, one that is good for both landlords and tenants,” Herbold said in the release.
Tenants and landlords are able to come up with and agree on their own payment plans, but if necessary, the legislation outlines a “default plan.”
The default plan requires that if the tenant is overdue on rent, they must pay it back in set, consecutive, equal monthly installments as follows:
- Up to one month or less of rent must be paid back in three installments;
- Over one month and up to two months of rent must be paid back in five installments; and
- Over two months of rent must be paid back in six installments.
The legislation builds up González’s eviction defense for renters, which was passed by the council on May 4.
The legislation also complements Gov. Jay Inslee’s existing moratorium on evictions and direction for landlords and tenants to use payment plans.