Tax-payer funded ‘housing justice’ group pays 2 years back rent for serial squatter near Seattle

Apr 3, 2024 | Political News

A radical tenant protection activist group has used taxpayer funds to pay off the tab of a squatter who hasn’t paid his rent in over two years for a $2M property in a high-end Washington neighborhood. The landlord wants him out.

The King County Bar Association’s taxpayer-funded Housing Justice Project (HJP) has been criticized for providing squatters with lawyers and other resources to evade evictions in Washington.

The agency claims that it helps “low-income” clients but currently, there are no checks and balances to verify a tenant's financial status.

Failed COVID-era policies enacted by Democratic politicians have left small mom-and-pop landlords out tens of thousands of dollars in back rent and no action to remedy the situation and their taxpayer dollars are used to fund lawyers against themselves.

For the past several weekends, neighbors and politicians have protested outside the home of serial squatter Sang Kim.

Jaskaran Singh rented the home in Woodridge, one of Bellevue, Washington’s most desirable neighborhoods to Sang Kim and his family in the summer of 2022.

Singh previously told the Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI that he received the first and last month’s rent when the Kims moved in, but nothing since then.

Singh said, “I work two jobs to support my family and the tenant's family.” He added, “While my tenant enjoys a relaxed lifestyle, buys new cars, and celebrates [with] barbecues, I continue to struggle to pay my bills and double mortgages. Our tax dollars not only provide free legal support to my tenant but also pay his rent while he does little to contribute and seemingly manipulates the system.”

A real estate agent with Compass, Jani Spencer, previously said Kim is a repeat offender and has “…done this more than once,” adding that Kim is “a con artist” and her clients are still owed thousands of dollars in back rent.

Following months of non-payment and a failed attempt at mediation through the city, Singh’s lawyer Stephen Freeborn filed eviction proceedings, but the HJP provided Kim with free legal help and paid the back rent in addition to a three-month advance on future rent so that the family had time to move out.

But Kim didn’t leave and hasn’t paid rent since May 2023. The lease expired in April of 2023.

For the past several weekends, neighbors and politicians have protested outside the rental property to support the mom-and-pop landlord. In advance of the first protest, Kim was able to obtain a temporary restraining order against Singh. From Judge Matthew A. Skau from the King County District Court’s East Division.

When Singh reached out to elected officials for help, Democratic Senator Patty Kuderer scolded him for sharing his frustrations. Critics blame Kuderer's Senate Bill 5160 for hurting mom-and-pop landlords.

Following the public outcry, last week HJP cut a rent check for Singh with taxpayer funds for over $40,000 in back rent owed by Kim through March 2024. Though Singh is now close to finally being made whole, he is still owed legal fees resulting from the ordeal and Kim still refuses to leave the property.

Another protest is scheduled for this coming weekend.

Additionally, King County Republican Councilmember Reagan Dunn reportedly plans on introducing legislation to make sure that HJP has more transparency.