Yim v. Seattle: 9th Circuit Court Rules in Favor of Housing Provider Rights

Posted By: Daniel Bannon Advocacy, Education, Seattle Laws, Tenant Screening,

On Tuesday, March 21st, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that Seattle's prohibition on using criminal background checks for housing did not meet the intermediate scrutiny standard of review.

One of the three judges in a concurrence said he thought that strict scrutiny standard should apply because the ordinance, on its face, is a content and speaker-based restriction on noncommercial speech. The Ordinance even fails strict scrutiny.

"We conclude that the Ordinance’s inquiry provision impinges upon the First Amendment rights of the landlords, as it is a regulation of speech that does not survive"

Part of the case is remanded back to the District court to address the adverse action provision that we argues violates housing providers substantive due process rights.

It is important to note that, out of an abundance of caution, RHAWA will continue to limit criminal background screening in Seattle until the City Council responds to this ruling.

However, this is a significant victory for common sense and property owners. Thanks to the plaintiffs and association member of the Washington Business Properties Association, Rental Housing Association of Washington and Pacific Legal Foundation for taking a stand. 

It's high-impact litigation like this that you are helping fund. This case was fueled by RHAWA's Legal Defense Fund which relys on your donations in order to create positive changes in the rental hosuing industry. In addition to always staying involved in our advocacy and education efforts, we need your financial support to continue our Legal Defense Fund.

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Serving as the last line of defense to defend your rights as a private property owner, our Legal Defense Fund (LDF) exists to uphold your rights against state and local laws which violate our state and federal constitutions. Your support empowers our ability to continue to defend your property rights. Contributions fund legal research and attorney costs. Contributions to the LDF are considered ordinary business expenses. Check with your accountant to determine deductions. Membership dues do not fund the LDF - contributions are voluntary.