Eviction Reduction Measures
Background: Currently in Edmonds, landlords are not required to provide a reason for an eviction of tenants that do not have leases, such as those renting “month-to-month”, through verbal agreements, or at the end of a tenant’s lease term. “Just cause” or “good cause” eviction policies require a landlord to provide a valid business reason for eviction. These just cause business reasons can include: non-payment of rent, violation of lease terms, creation of a nuisance, and owner’s intent to occupy or sell the unit, among other examples.
Research shows eviction is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Eviction records make it extremely difficult for prospective renters to qualify for housing, increasing the likelihood that they become or remain homeless. Eviction prevention measures increase housing stability for tenants, preventing displacement and homelessness, ensuring community continuity, and allowing people to stay close to jobs, schools, and services.
The City of Edmonds should adopt eviction prevention measures such as:
(a) Adopting a “Just Cause” eviction ordinance limiting the grounds upon which a landlord may evict a tenant to a “just cause” or valid business reason
(b) Prohibiting retaliatory evictions and evictions based upon the tenant’s status as a member of the military, first responder, senior, family member, health care provider, or educator
(c) Prohibiting retaliation and discrimination in lease renewal actions
(d) Adopting penalties for violation and procedures to protect the rights of landlords and tenants
Emergency Home Repairs Program
Background: Emergency home repairs can be an unexpected cost burden for low-income homeowners. For those that are unable to pay for repairs, housing conditions may become unsafe or unlivable. Home repair costs, beyond home insurance coverage, typically can be covered by bank issued Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit issued. However, banks may reject loan applications due to bad credit or lack of income.
Programs that provide emergency home repair grants or loans to low-income homeowners can help mitigate the adverse impacts of these unplanned costs. Emergency home repairs apply to housing conditions that threaten homeowners’ safety, such as failing septic systems, dangerous heating systems or rotten floors.
The City of Edmonds should consider having a program that provides, for example, up to $5,000 in financial assistance through grants or below-market-rate loans, for emergency home repairs to homeowners whose incomes are below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI).