Boom Displaced Tenants: A Correction and Some Good News
posted by November 15 at 14:20 PMon
I’ve got a story in this week’s paper about the city’s refusal to back tenants who were booted from a University District triplex, in violation of tenant relocation regulations. Developers are required to obtain a “tenant relocation license” in order to evict tenants when demolishing a building, which is supposed to help evictees get relocation assistance.
In my article, I said that the city and the property owner would have been responsible for splitting $2,000 in relocation fees, but due to annual increases, that number should have actually been higher. Almost $1,000 higher.
If the city had not allowed a developer to exploit a loophole in their own regulations, the tenants in the triplex—who met income requirements—would have received $2,829. The developer has attempted to contact former tenants, but the city has said that they won’t be paying, or offering legal support, and tenants are on their own if the developer doesn’t come through.
In other city/tenant news, Council President Nick Licata along with Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Peter Steinbrueck have been working on getting money budget to help put a little extra cash in the wallets of tenants displaced by condo conversion.
Right now, tenants displaced by conversions—who make 80% or less of the median income, about $42,000—get 500 bucks. A number of displaced tenants I’ve spoken with have complained that $500 isn’t enough to cover a deposit, moving expenses or first month’s rent at a new place (although tenants should get their deposits back from building owners if their apartments are being renovated).
Well, somebody at the city listened. Council is earmarking $350,000 in the budget to increase payouts to people caught up in Condo Conversion Wars.
Under the proposed guidelines, households that make 30% of the median income would receive $1500 from the city. Households in the 31-50% range would get $1000, and those in the 51-80% range would get $500.
If council makes this happen—it appears to have full support—the money would be available January 1st., but it would only be a temporary solution. When it runs out, it runs out.
Rasmussen is expected to testify in Olympia again during the next session, in hopes of getting the state to hop on the tenant-assistance bandwagon which they failed to do last year. However, a renewed push for a condo conversion cap seems unlikely.