Landlords Sue Seattle to Overturn Ban on Criminal Records When Screening Applicants

Posted By: Heather Pierce Advocacy , Government , Law , Tenant Screening ,

Lawsuit against Seattle’s “Prohibiting Criminal Background Screening” Ordinance filed May 1

Seattle, WA – Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) and the Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA) held a joint press conference on May 1 to announce a legal challenge against the City of Seattle's law which bans landlords from considering criminal history when screening an applicant.

​Click here to view the press conference recording.

The ordinance is based on the flawed reasoning that inequities of our criminal justice system can be solved by limiting the rights of property owners from making informed decisions about the person(s) with whom they enter into rental agreements.

“Rental property owners recognize the struggle for applicants with criminal convictions history and the industry supports measures like Certificates of Restoration of Opportunities and simple “ban the box” legislation to ensure that an individual’s full list of qualifications are considered. However, the ostensibly blanket restrictions imposed by the City put rental property owners at too high of a risk of exposure to the safety of other tenants and their property,” said RHAWA Interim Executive Director, Sean Martin. “RHAWA supports second-chance housing and educates its members on HUD guidelines and state law which restrict how criminal records history may be considered, including an individualized assessment which consider factors such as the nature and severity of a criminal conviction.”

To learn more about our position on this issue, and our supported policy solutions aimed at addressing the issue of ex-offenders seeking housing options, click the file attachment at the end of this post.

For more information contact:
Heather Pierce, Deputy Director of Government Affairs
(206) 905-0611 | hpierce@RHAwa.org