Don't Let Your Past Limit Your Future

Seattle Passes Law Restricting Landlords’ Use of Criminal Records

August 17, 2017

Here’s some good news for those people with a criminal record in Washington. On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted 8 to 0 to prohibit landlords from using criminal records to screen prospective tenants. The only exception to the new ordinance are sex offenders – and landlords must still demonstrate a legitimate business reason if they deny housing to a sex offender. Landlords will be barred from excluding people with records in advertisements. When taking applications for housing, they will be barred from asking about records. Landlords will also be barred from rejecting people due to their records when choosing tenants.

Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Nick Licata began addressing the issue in 2013 by removing barriers at publicly funded housing. The idea then resurfaced as a recommendation in the Mayor’s Seattle Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). After another year of collaboration and discussions, the ordinance passed.

The bill is thought of as a second chance opportunity. It’s meant to lower barriers to housing for people with criminal histories, who are often rejected by landlords. Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez stated, “Once you pay your debt to society by virtue of spending time in prison or jail or a conviction, at that point you deserve a second chance.” Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who spearheaded the new legislation, also mentioned the importance of people who came forward to share their experiences – who influenced her decision to pass the law.

After the vote was counted, many applauded the decision – saying that their criminal records continue to follow them into the community, even years later, which at times has made it nearly impossible to put a roof over their heads. Landlords may still use employment, credit scores, income ratios, or other criteria when screening applicants. The bill also doesn’t apply to single-family dwelling units in which the owner lives in part of the unit.

  1. […] always conduct a background check as part of the application process. As mentioned in a previous blog post, some cities are passing laws to prevent the discrimination of renters with a criminal record. […]

Leave a Comment

 

Recent Posts

How to Restore Gun Rights in Michigan
December 3, 2021

Read More>

How to Join the Army with a Felony
November 30, 2021

Join the Army with a Felony Enlisting in any of the six branches of the United States Military can be an amazing, life-changing decision. However, it’s often not as easy as walking into an enlistment office, signing your papers, and heading to boot camp. One of the most common reasons to be denied enlistment is failing the required background check. … Read More>

Disclaimer: The material on this blog has been prepared and is copyrighted by WipeRecord, a division of Eastman, Libersat & Meyler, PC ("WipeRecord"). The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Information provided by or cited to third parties does not necessarily reflect the opinions of WipeRecord or any of its attorneys or clients. Results of any expungement or restoration of civil and/or firearm rights may vary from case to case. We obtained your email address when you took the eligibility test on our website. Please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisement. Please refer to our website for prices. This is a legal advertisement. If you have already hired or retained a lawyer in connection with your gun rights restoration, please disregard this letter. Our lawyers do not have professional liability insurance.