With the eviction moratorium set to expire March 31st, an “eviction tsunami” is looming if we don’t force lawmakers to take action to prevent it. Unemployment remains at historic highs, and statewide 14% of renters owe back-rent to landlords according to a survey last month. That’s nearly 225,000 households facing possible eviction and homelessness.
We are forming the Housing Justice Policy Committee to fight back. As a first step, we will push our state legislatures to pass the strongest possible tenant rights protections before the legislative session ends in early April.
We will work in coalition with other housing justice groups to pass several bills they’ve helped shape. One bill would ban landlords from evicting tenants for back rent accrued during the moratorium and force landlords into mandatory mediation where tenants have the right to legal counsel, and create a statewide “just cause” eviction requirement. Another bill would mandate a statewide 12-month rent freeze (capping increases to inflation rates) following the moratorium.
As socialists, our goal is not simply to become another lobbying group, but to link the fight for these partial emergency reforms with a mass movement building strategy, keeping our eyes on the prize. In today’s fights we must popularize the need for transformative socialist policies, like permanent statewide rent control and a massive expansion of green social housing, offering all who need it an affordable and democratic alternative to the failed private sector real estate casino. Join Seattle DSA’s HJP Committee to help win this vision.