June 18th, 2021
We are now well over a year after the beginning of COVID and the accompanying governmental interventions to protect us from ourselves. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has just introduced a new executive order extending the moratorium through September of 2021. Here we will examine some of the nuances of the order and also provide some insight on how this could effect the commercial real estate market moving forward.
To be clear, the entire moratorium is premised on one sentence...."Whereas, the continued number of cases and deaths in Seattle and King County shows that this pandemic continues to threaten the life and health of people as well as the economy of the City of Seattle: Now therefore.......
When issuing an executive order that so adversely effects a basic tenant of American law "property rights", one would think the Mayor would actually provide data or stats to back up this assertion. At this stage of the pandemic, all adults in the region have the opportunity to get one of several vaccination options. If they have not done so, that is their choice and this author would respect that decision. Accordingly, the health concerns of this pandemic are OVER. Simple as that. Get vaccinated or assume the risk. How long can this government intervention of basic civil rights charade continue?
Some of the basic terms of the Moratorium:
1) Emergency order imposing a moratorium on small business and non-profits....is hereby extended to September 30, 3021.
2) The Emergency Moratorium on residential evictions is extended through September 30, 2021 at which point Ordinance 126075 which provides a defense against evictions due to hardship from COVID-19 for 6 months goes into effect.
3) Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will issue a directive to maintain flexible payment plan policies to December 31, 2021.
4) Booting of vehicles with unpaid parking tickets will remain suspended.
What does it mean?
Well, depending on the side of the fence you are on (Landlord vs. Tenant), it means very different things. While some Tenants will assuredly applaud the extension, Landlords, who have been given no relief from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, continue to take the brunt of the losses here. Their mortgage and tax obligations continue while they have no immediate recourse for tenants who are unable or refuse to pay rent.
Is this good policy given the circumstances? Frankly, time will tell. What can be unequivocally ascertained is that we do not have a 'market system' at the moment. Most of the prices we see from purchases to rentals, to commodities have been driven by governmental policies rather than supply and demand. That has led and will lead to market skewing, bubbles and inevitable corrections down the road.....those typically don't end well.
For more information on Seattle Commercial Real Estate brokerage or legal issues, find us at www.WeitzCommercial.com or Scott@WeitzCommercial.com.
105 Central Way, Ste 202
Kirkland, WA 98033