This article was posted on Thursday, Jun 01, 2023

The Section 8 Department will implement Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) for applicants and participating families in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). SAFMRs are defined based on the U.S. Postal Service ZIP code areas. They reflect rents at the ZIP code level with the goal to improve tenant outcomes. 

They have been shown to be a more direct approach to encouraging tenant moves to housing in lower poverty areas by increasing the subsidy available in specific ZIP codes to support such moves.

The following chart depicts the SAFMRs for HACLA. (Effective January 1, 2023 for new admissions and effective March 1, 2023 for annual reexaminations).


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Please note, regardless of its location, or whether the unit is providing reasonable accommodations, the unit’s rent can never be higher than the comparable rents determined by HACLA.

Additionally, SAFMRs are only for use with HCV related programs, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, Veteran Vouchers (HUD-VASH) and Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV). SAFMRs do not apply to Project Based Assistance Programs, Certificate Programs nor the Moderate Rehabilitation Program. 

For more information about the Section 8 Program visit

UPDATE:  Berkeley Eviction Moratorium Will be Extended Through August

The City Council voted in April to extend the eviction moratorium past the state and local state of emergency. It will expire on August  31, 2023.

It will expire in tiers. The council decided that the first set of property owners allowed to evict tenants can file a 60-day notice Wednesday. This is restricted to owners of only one building that plan to move into the property.

Beginning May 1st, property owners could initiate evictions for non-payment of rent under reasons not covered by the COVID-19 moratorium.

This will lead into a transition period that ends August. 31st, with all good cause evictions (at properties under Rent Board jurisdiction) allowed by September 1st.

Seattle City Council Caps Late Rent Fee Payment At $10

The Seattle City Council has passed an ordinance to cap late rent fees at $10, according to reports, frustrating many small landlords who opposed it.

The city council put in place the $10 cap on late fees for rental payments after the council passed the decision on a 7-2 vote. Councilmembers Alex Pedersen and Sara Nelson voted against it. It now goes to the mayor for signature.

“Unfortunately, the Seattle City Council once again has decided to make providing rental housing a more risky and economically unsound endeavor,” said Ryan Makinster, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association.

“While the housing crisis has been created by years of bad policy decisions at the local and state level, elected officials are still blaming and passing laws directed at the industry that they should instead be encouraging, housing providers. It is short sighted policies like this that will only exacerbate the housing crisis, not help it,” Makinster said.

The frustration was clear from one small landlord, Alley, who told Jason Rantz on KTTH 770 AM, ““This comes on the back of about two dozen other laws that have changed in really substantial ways, as well as the pandemic eviction moratorium that had a lot of impacts for small landlords. And that context is really never discussed by the city council, which is kind of astounding.”

Alley argued that a $10 fee is not enough to incentivize tenants to pay on time, creating more hassle for local landlords.

The $10 late rent fee cap mirrors existing laws in Burien and Auburn. Councilmember Kshama Sawant told the Seattle Times the bill would make sure renters do not face compounding or exorbitant late fees, which can result in evictions.

“Late fees can suck renters into a debt vortex,” Sawant told the Seattle Times. Leases often include a per day late fee that accumulates until the rent is paid. Some tenants may face hundreds of dollars in late fees in a month.

“Most people really do try to pay their rent on time. Most people do have a decent relationship with their landlords,” Alley said. “There are good landlords, bad landlords, good tenants, bad tenants, we’re all just people. And there were systems in place for regulating that.”