- Relicensing clinic – for tickets and fines. Can have clients do community service to pay off fines.
- Maureen – are you familiar with any jurisdictions where if a landlord gives an eviction notice, that eviction notice goes to the City. Is there a way to know when a property gets flipped. Mark – Other jurisdictions do require a landlord to submit a copy to the city. That happens when a City has duties based on the eviction notice being served.
- Maureen – there is no right to council in the draft agreements. The City staff said nobody asked for that? Mark – yes, we should have a right to council – that would be great. Without counsel representing them, seldom do folks get what they want in court. We can push for it with the City. Also, just cause statutes don’t need to be coupled with the right to council – it can be stand alone. The discussions leading up to the Just Cause were about allowing a landlord to give the eviction notice, but with much more time – like 60 days. Also want a 60 day notice for rent increases. And want to allow tenants the ability to have a payment plan for moving. To move in, you often need security deposit and 1st and last month’s rent. An ordinance can force the landlords to take a 4 month payment plan to pay off security deposit and last month’s rent. But we still see homelessness in communities where these protections are put in, so they don’t solve all problems.
- Al – What are things we can do to help Merkle tenants? Mark - Merkle fashions itself as a hotel – although tenants stay for years, paying monthly rent, like a tenant. Hotel guests have different rights than a tenant. We were recently involved in a situation where a tenant at Merkle Hotel of 4 years was locked out of his room. Outcome from Merkle Hotel was the Hotel was forced to pay out some and give good references for the client. This decision caused Merkle tenants to be treated like tenants, not hotel guests. When the hotel decided to shut down for renovation, the tenants were given 90 day notices. If the previous case hadn’t happened, the tenants may have just been given a couple days to leave. They were given an extra 30 days as well. Up till this point in time, the hotel is within their rights to give a 90 day notice.
- Maureen – talk about the proposed relocation grant from the City and the effect that will have on the evictions – getting tenants from the notice to vacate. Mark – is the city committed to this? Maureen – they are still talking about it. Mark – in April or May, when the tiki situation was happening, the City was unprepared to deal with this situation. In Seattle, when there are mass displacements, it allows for some relocation expenses when there is a change in use or substantial remodel. The City of Seattle pays 50% of the costs and the landlord pays 50%. The Tacoma ordinance doesn’t provide that relocation expenses. Maureen – it is one of the proposed changes. Mark – I didn’t see that in the last draft with the City of Tacoma. Maureen – don’t know if it is going as a separate ordinance. Mark – City seems fine with what they have. Maureen – City proposal is out there. Maureen – it is also a 50%/50% split between landlord and City of Tacoma. Mark – haven’t seen that in the stakeholder committee meetings. It should have been included from the start.
- James – how to prevent folks from becoming homeless has been a focus of our work this year.
- A lot of people don’t understand that Just Cause and No Cause evictions are handled differently. If you work with landlords, help educate them on the differences.