Seattle’s “Fair Chance Housing” ordinance now faces a challenge in court, as two landlord groups filed suit against the City of Seattle over the ordinance on May 1, 2018.
The ordinance, which took effect February 19, 2018, prohibits landlords from screening applicants for criminal background information. The Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA) and Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed their challenge in King County Superior Court, alleging the law violates due process and free speech constitutional rights.
Advocates of the Fair Chance housing ordinance assert the ordinance helps prevent unfair bias against renters with a past criminal record. The City of Seattle maintains the ordinance is constitutional and has announced plans to defend it.
The RHAWA also recently sued and won a lawsuit overturning the City of Seattle’s “First in Time” law, which required landlords to accept the first qualified applicant screened. The City of Seattle plans to appeal that decision.
Read more about the current Fair Chance Housing law here. The Seattle Civil Rights Office enforces this ordinance and is holding monthly informational meetings covering housing and rental regulations in Seattle for all interested parties.
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