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The Durkan Digest: Helping People Stay in Their Homes and Creating More Housing Choices in Seattle

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I’ve heard from so many of our neighbors about how hard it is to get a toehold in housing in Seattle. And even more people have told me how hard it is to keep the place they have. 

For too many people, the prospects of renting an affordable unit or owning a home are dim – and it’s getting harder and harder.  

That’s why we took some important new steps this week to tackle our housing crisis on two critical fronts: Helping people stay in their current home, and reducing barriers to more housing options across Seattle.  

First, this week we announced our new steps to protect tenants from evictions and help keep residents in their homes. I transmitted legislation to update the City of Seattle’s laws that protect tenants to align with the state’s new, stronger Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. I also instructed our Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) to draft legislation to further improve tenant protections. 

As we address our region’s housing crisis, we will continue to act within our authority to protect Seattle’s renters and give clarity to landlords. I also want to thank Councilmember Lisa Herbold for her work to protect domestic violence survivors from eviction due to the shameful acts of the perpetrator. 

Second, on Tuesday we acted to create a path for more housing choices in Seattle by reducing barriers to creating backyard cottages and in-law apartments. These kinds of units will provide more housing choices across Seattle, more opportunities for people to age in place, and more financial flexibility for families. 

Standing next to a backyard cottage in the Whittier Heights community, I signed legislation and an Executive Order to advance the development of more accessory dwelling units (ADUs) like backyard cottages and in-law apartments in single-family zoned neighborhoods throughout Seattle.  

Mayor Durkan high-fives a young boy after signing ADU/DADU legislation
Mayor Durkan poses with multi-generational family and housing advocates at ADU/DADU signing

With this legislation and my new Executive Order, we can address the serious regulatory, financial, and permitting challenges for backyard cottages and in-law apartments in Seattle. 

Now, we will work to implement these needed changes, and continue to take action in the coming weeks to address housing in Seattle. We also will monitor the impact accessory dwelling units as we work to increase the affordable options available across the city, and we will work to mitigate any impacts on green space. 

As always, please continue to write me at, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.  

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan's Signature

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.