Landlord expresses racism as motivation for evicting tenants at Senate Hearing in Olympia

We know that evictions, and how they play out, are functionally racist, but we rarely get to hear landlords explicitly announce racism as their motivation for eviction.

Today, a landlord  told lawmakers at a hearing for SB 5733, which can be found at 1:23 in the hearing video, a bill that would end no-cause terminations of tenancy, that the reason people of color are disproportionately evicted was due to drug use and “psychosis.”

“Why do we have such high (eviction) numbers with minorities and these other groups? Well I’m just going to be blunt. Drugs and alcohol is the thing as a landlord that I face. Psychosis is something I face.” the landlord said. Luckily Sen. Hobbs and Sen. Hasegawa stepped up to point out the offensive statements made in the hearing.

While these remarks were deeply offensive, what was doubly striking was the call from Sen. Mark Mullet for both sides to find “common ground.” Unfortunately, Sen. Mullet did not even point out the landlord’s statement as racist or even offensive.

Not only are we disappointed by landlords relying on racist testimony to counter our efforts to make humane reforms to the eviction process that already exists in other states like Ohio, Tennessee, and South Carolina, but we are disappointed that our lawmakers continue to insist tenants of color work with landlords who, not only defend structural racism, but also express blatant racism towards tenants.

Washington CAN, an organization led by a woman of color, with a majority of women of color organizers who organize low-income tenants and tenants of color, cannot find common ground with explicit racism. This exchange is an example of exactly why we need this eviction reform. We urge the legislature to also stand against explicit racism by passing these eviction reform bills.

Health Care for All! Join us at our coalition meeting!

The culture is shifting and more people get that it’s not only right to ensure everyone has access to health care, but it’s also just common sense.

We will be hosting a strategy meeting with our coalition partners and hope to see you there!

Representative Nicole Macri, State Senators David Frockt, Bob Hasegawa, and Joe Nguyen, King County Councilmember Rob Dembowski, and Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda will attend and outline their game plan for winning big for health care for all There will also be a special video presentation Improved Medicare Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal as she was unable to attend due to the Government Shutdown.

What: Winning Universal Health Care

When: 9:45 to 11 am

Where: El Centro De La Raza's Centilia Cultural Center, 1660 South Roberto Maestas Festival Street, 98144 Seattle

This event will be kid-friendly!

Co-sponsors are the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Health Care for All-WA, SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, Physicians for a National Health Program - W. WA, Seattle Indivisible and the Northwest Health Law Advocates.

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Auburn tenants protest abusive resident manager

About 20 tenants and advocates hand-delivered a demand letter to a negligent and abusive resident manager Friday morning.

Landlords regularly get away with immoral practices in Washington because plenty of immoral practices also happen to be totally legal. Sometimes, though, landlords, property managers and resident managers try to get with illegal behavior too.

We met dozens of tenants in an Auburn trailer park who told us they were subjected to verbal and physical abuse — yes, really — on top of getting inconsistent water bills, garbage dumped in their yards and shoddy maintenance practices. Tenants told us that when they pointed to disparities in their billings to the resident manager he would respond with aggressive language, and even behavior. One tenant told us the resident manager punched him in the face. Another said the resident manager threatened to kill him.

On Friday tenants delivered a letter to the resident manager demanding a sit-down meeting with tenants collectively to go over the disparity in utilities billing and to put an end to the hostile behavior. Tenants gave the property owner and resident manager until Dec. 10 to respond.