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Mayor Durkan Announces New Steps to Stem the Supply of Unsafe Vehicles Including RVs and Protect Vulnerable People from Predatory Rentals of Hazardous Vehicles

City Will Begin Applying Public Health Criteria to Determine Whether Towed Vehicles Including RVs Should Be Destroyed Instead of Sold Back into Market

Mayor Will Also Transmit New Legislation Banning Predatory Rental Practices Where People Purchase Multiple Unsafe Vehicles and Rent Them to Vulnerable Individuals; Plan Includes Requiring Predatory Landlords Pay Up to $2,000 in Restitution Costs for Occupants

Seattle (June 12, 2019) – Mayor Jenny Durkan announced new steps today to stem the supply of hazardous vehicles by preventing the re-sale of towed cars and recreational vehicles (RVs) and preventing the rental of hazardous vehicles to vulnerable individuals. The City will continue its work through the RV Remediation Program to clean up the public right of way to mitigate the public health hazards of debris, garbage and waste adjacent to RVs.

“We have an obligation to protect public health and ensure that our neighbors are not living in inhumane conditions. And we will hold accountable those who prey on vulnerable people for profit,” said Mayor Durkan. “We will continue to work for holistic solutions and do more to connect people with services and housing – and we will continue to invest in the strategies we know have an impact, like our Navigation Team.”

To stem the supply of dilapidated and hazardous vehicles in Seattle, Mayor Durkan has directed all City departments to begin applying additional criteria on whether a car or RV that has been towed by a City contractor meets the definition of a public health hazard. In the event an RV is designated as a public health hazard, it will be destroyed instead of re-sold back into the market at auction. Her directive will focus on preventing the re-sale of vehicles that meet the Junk Vehicle criteria set by the state and vehicles that are posing significant public health, fire, or safety hazards.

Next week, Mayor Durkan will transmit legislation that updates the Seattle Municipal Code to fine predatory landlords who rent cars and vehicles including RVs in poor and inoperable conditions to vulnerable populations. The legislation will require remediation of up to $2,000, which will go into a restitution fund for vehicle occupants.

The new steps build on the RV Remediation Program established by Mayor Durkan in May 2018 to mitigate the negative impacts to public health and safety, from RVs in the public right of way. In the pilot, City teams engage individuals living in RVs and vehicles to voluntarily move their vehicles to allow for cleaning and the removal of garbage, debris, and inoperable or unsafe vehicles left behind. Last year, the program resulted in 161 tons of garbage and debris removed. Through May 2019, the program resulted in 173 vehicles being towed because they were inoperable, unsafe or posed a threat to public health. But in 2018, 60 of the 113 towed – 53 percent – had been removed from a clean-up site with significant safety and health risks returned to the marketplace. As a part of this effort, the City can now more easily deem a vehicle unfit to return to the market and process it for disposal.