I have actually spoken and composed frequently in the in 2015 or so about the consistent, consistent, and perilous efforts underway throughout the country to wear down business of private rental property. That last sentence seems like I am a conspiracy theorist, pressing a story that one day private rental property won’t exist and the only place to lease a home will be from the government or non-profits. Sometimes I question it myself until I see things like the request from Seattle’s Renter’s Commission to ban evictions throughout the winter season. However wait a minute. Wouldn’t banning expulsions be a thoughtful thing to do? The Commission says in it’s letter,” Throughout winter season in Seattle, temperature levels regularly fall into the 30’s overnight and, according to All Home King County’s Count United States In report for 2019, forty-one percent of homeless next-door neighbors sleep outside every night with an extra nineteen percent oversleeping automobiles.”
The Commission cites a French example, the Trêve hivernale, or “winter season truce”which bans evictions from November 1 through April 1 every year. However consider that for a minute. That would suggest evictions would be prohibited for nearly half the year. And the Commission’s letter leads anyone reading to ask, well, why do we allow expulsions at all since cold is just among a myriad of bad things an individual deals with when they “sleep outside.”
Let’s go back to what I call the sluggish, consistent, and perilous nature of efforts to “decommodify” real estate in the United States. I wrote about a book, In Defense of Real estate, that suggests housing needs to not be bought and sold. In essence, the argument that “real estate is a human right,”makes purchasing and selling real estate like purchasing and offering plasters at the scene of mishap, unethical and exploitative. Is the Commission and other advocates of these sorts of steps truly advising compassion or something else.
Consider the reality that actual removals from multifamily housing in Seattle are extremely irregular, so irregular that they barely sign up on the control panel of real estate problems.