Requiring landlords to have good cause for terminating lease

Council members Jesse Johnson and Martin Moore endorse Just Cause Eviction Initiative to increase tenant rights.

  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 4:33pm
  • Opinion
Council members Martin Moore (left) and Jesse Johnson. Courtesy photos

Council members Martin Moore (left) and Jesse Johnson. Courtesy photos

Over the last several years, we’ve met countless citizens in our community who have concerns over neglectful landlords, absentee property owners and genuine slumlords.

We’ve seen their living conditions and heard their stories, and they’re injustices that demand to be fought.

April Sweet, whose story was featured in the Federal Way Mirror, had her 10- and 2- year-old niece living with her, when she asked her landlord to fix her washing machine. Instead of getting the machine repaired, her landlord issued her a 20-day eviction notice with no reason. Now April and her nieces are staying with family, but again, thrown into instability.

We know a woman in a wheelchair who can’t do laundry because her chair won’t fit through a doorway; a neighbor in her complex who lives with mold that drips from the ceiling, and another neighbor can’t cook a meal because her broken stove hasn’t been replaced.

Every one of those neighbors did what they should have and tried to work with their landlord to address their problems in accordance with the law and with the terms of their leases.

The landlord’s response? Nothing.

That’s why City Council members are working with the community to create stronger protections for renters in our city, by gathering signatures for an important initiative — just cause evictions. This transformational initiative would require landlords to have “good cause” for terminating a lease or refusing to renew.

It will lead the way to keeping our families and people from all walks of life housed. The “Just Cause” initiative is also about making municipal law that protects marginalized and vulnerable people from unjust discriminatory evictions.

While our city is impacted by the region’s housing crisis, we have a chance with this initiative to do something about it, that would bring families in our community more security.

Join us in supporting Stable Homes Federal Way so our community can grow and thrive.

Martin Moore and Jesse Johnson are Federal Way City Council members.

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