Free Paper Sample: Seattle's Eviction Epidemic

Published: 2022-09-12
Free Paper Sample: Seattle's Eviction Epidemic
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  Society Other
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1793 words
15 min read

Many people living in various cities in the US know the problems that come with evictions. However, Seattle is one American city that has numerous eviction problems. It is clear from the existing report that many people are becoming homeless in the city of Seattle due to unwarranted eviction procedures. Such forced eviction does not only lea to homelessness but also occur over a minor issue such as failing to pay a small amount of rent balances. The landlords in the city seem to over-exercise their right and ability to evict the tenants who find it difficult to clear their rent balances.

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Moreover, it is also evident that eviction takes place even when a tent has only failed to pay rent for one month. Many residents are crying for help from leaders and justice system to come to their rescue because if the rate of evictions in Seattle continues then many people will be left homeless. Worst still, the eviction actions do not only affect adults but also affect children who have to change schools and end up lagging behind in their education. In general, eviction does not only lead to people lacking homes but they are also forced to either sleep in their cars, seek shelter from assisted living or even totally move to different areas hence affecting their lives in general.

Economic Angle

The article about Seattle eviction problem indicates that people get evicted from their houses due to a rent balance of as low as $10. A large number of eviction cases at the court also reveal that many people are getting sent out of their houses due to rent balance of as low as $100 in arrears (Cohen & Kroman, 2017). The article further details that 20 tenants were taken to court by their landlords for failing to pay a rent balance of $100. Moreover, the number of eviction cases in courts of Seattle has skyrocketed over the recent past. As of 2016, there were over 1,200 unlawful detainer cases filed on 1,500 tenants in Seattle city alone. This is an indication that the eviction problem in the city if becoming problematic and getting out of hand by the minute.

One evicted tenant have narrated that she had to be charged an additional $2000 for attorney fees, late fees, and other non-rent fees. In total, she had to pay an additional 33% on top of what she owed. The report shows that apart from being evicted, the rent still has to bear the burden of paying for all the fees related to the eviction cases. Another economic problem is that the landlords do not consider the economic situation of the people being evicted. For example, one tenant who had to pay an extra $2000 was also suffering from a debilitating sickness that caused her to miss work and spend a lot on medical procedures (Cohen & Kroman, 2017). Similarly, the article has also shown that the housing costs in Seattle have been increasing faster than that of any city in the US. The increasing costs of housing have seen low income earning household being tricks of evictions.

Problem statement

One problem noted in the article is that the rate at which tenants are becoming evicted unjustly in Seattle City has increased and is becoming a problem. As stated earlier landlord is evicting tenants for owing as less as $10 in rent arrears. The article further shows that 5 out of 6 evictions or 86.5% resulted from non-payment of rents (Cohen & Kroman, 2017). Of all the cases at the Seattle City Hall, 75% owed rent amounting to $2,500 and 52% owed less than one month's rents. It is clear that the landlords in the city have lost sanity and order in the way they evict their tenants.

The other problem that has increased the rates of eviction in Seattle is that many people lost their jobs hence have become economically challenged. It is important to note that most of the people evicted and hence renders homeless sited loss of jobs or increased costs of rent hence making it impossible for them to pay their rents as they should. It is clear from the defendants that high rent amounts reduce their financial flexibility which further worsens the situation making it a life emergency.

The study has shown that Seattle has seen one of the biggest increases in the cost of living. This has affected the ability of most tenants to pay their rents with ease. Despite all these, this is evidence that most of the landlords use the rule of law and their ability to evict their tenants in the most draconian way. For example, one leader complained that the landlords have lost sanity and order to an extent of even evicting tenants who owed rent as low as $10 or even $15.65.

The other noted problem in the eviction is that people of color and minority groups are more likely to be evicted than the white community. The study shows that of all the people evicted, 52.5% were people of color and that 31% of the evictees were black despite the fact that only 7% of Seattle population were blacks. Similarly, of all the eviction cases showed that 28.5% of the people evicted were people of color who owed less than $1000 compared to 24.7 who were whites who had the same rent arrears as shown in the table below (Cohen & Kroman, 2017). Many leaders believe that the eviction problem in the city is wanting and does not indicate any progressiveness in Seattle.

Key Stakeholders

The major stakeholders who suffer the problems of eviction hence becoming homeless are the people who have lost their jobs hence lacking the financial flexibility that comes with increased rent and increased costs of living. The article has shown that most cases at the Seattle City Hall mainly site loss of jobs as the main reason why they have lagged behind in rent payments. Others also have cited the increasing costs of rent, so even if they are working, they are unable to meet the increased sum of mortgages and rent payment as demanded by their landlords (Cohen & Kroman, 2017).

On the same note, the other problem that leads to high rates of eviction is that increased cost of living is another problem that makes it hard for them to keep up with rent payment. Thus, those who have lost their jobs or those coming from low earning families are the people who suffer the most from the eviction problems. Thus, it is important for leaders to come up with better rent payment plans that can accommodate those who have lost their jobs and those earning low incomes to ensure that they reduce the rate at which these people are evicted hence becoming homeless.

Salient Problem

One single salient problem in the case is the fact that the cost of living in Seattle has increased over time compared to other cities in the US. Since many of the evicted people living in the city come from low earning families, they are at risk of being evicted. Low-income people suffer the risk of being evicted because once the cost of living increase and the cost of rent also increases, they are left with fewer amounts of money to cater of living expenses as well as rent expenses. They end up having to choose between balancing the payment of rent and other living expenses. In the end, they end up lagging in the payment of their house rent hence being evicted due to accumulated rent arrears (Cohen & Kroman, 2017). Moreover, low earning families also find it hard to keep up with the increasing costs of living in Seattle because aside from paying rent and living expenses, they also need to consider factors such as education bills, medical bills, and other expenses.

Goals of Solving the Problem

One goal that the city should have to help contain the problem is to come up with an effective plan of building cheap housing. Cheap housing should mostly target those tenants with low incomes and give them the chance to pay their rents easily. Moreover, the city should also come up with an effective payment plan that the people with low income can rely on to ensure that they effectively pay their rent on time hence avoiding eviction. It is important for the home builders and the leaders in the city to take note of the increasing rates at which people are being evicted from their houses in Seattle and come up with a speedy plan for building the cheap home for the people with low earning jobs.

They also need to have an effective management plan to ensure that they build enough houses to accommodate the evicted people. Moreover, there should be a plan to ensure that even those evicted still have the chance to get cheaper housing elsewhere as they wait for the start and completion of the affordable housing project. The leaders in charge should also have an assessment plan that will ensure that only the affected people get the cheap housing units. Thus, they must ensure that they perform a thorough background check on the tenants to reveal they are earning and financial abilities. The leaders also need to ensure that they speed up the building of cheap houses and that the constructions should take within a short time as compared to the next 7 years as stated in the article.

Table showing rates of eviction in Seattle between 2016 and 2017

Eviction cases Amount in arrears

1,200 cases in court as at 2017

Most of the people owed the landlords as little as $10 and as much as $2,500

1,500 people accused of failing to pay or complete their rent on time A large percentage of these people are reported to have failed to pay their rent within one month or less. Moreover, the people at the court they only owe rent in less than one-month arrears.

It is evident from the

Major cause of evictions:

  • Low income
  • Loss of jobs
  • Disease that makes it hard for people to work

Most evicted people site low income, loss of jobs, and debilitating health conditions as some of the issues that make it hard for them to afford money to pay rent on time as expected by their landlord.

Percentage by color It is evident that most people of color face high risks of eviction as shown below.

  • Blacks 28.4
  • White 24.7
  • Other minority groups 12.5

Other costs involved Attorney fees The article has revealed that aside from going to court due to rent balances, the tenants also have to bear the burdens of paying other costs that come with being accused at the court.

In total, they have to part with an additional 33% of the total amount of money they owe the landlord.

Court fees Other non-rent related fees


Cohen, J., & Kroman, D. (2017). New report details Seattle's eviction epidemic. Seattle: CrossCut.

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