Changes to Landlord/Tenant Ordinances in Seattle

Below is a summary of changes to Landlord/Tenant Ordinances in Seattle that affect both renters and owners of rental properties.   Some of these changes have been in the news, and others not covered as much by the media.


First-in Time or First-Come/First-Served:

Requires landlords to review applications and accept renters on a first-come, first-served basis.   Landlords will need to time and date stamp applications. The Landlord is required to screen applications in the order received against previously determined minimum standards and make offers to renters in that order.  The implementation date was January 1, 2017, however a legal challenge has delayed implementation to July 2017, depending on the outcome of the challenge.  Additional information may  be found here and here.

Source of Income Discrimination: 

Although it has been illegal to discriminate against income from Section 8, legislation has been adopted to add legal protection to include people who receive other alternate sources of income such as a pension, Social Security, unemployment, child support or any other governmental or non-profit subsidy.  The implementation Date was September 19, 2016.  Additional information may be found here and here.

Criminal Checks

The rules about denying a rental to someone with a criminal background are shifting. A Landlord can not summarily deny housing to an applicant based on having a criminal record.   The Landlord will need to understand the nature of the applicant’s criminal background by asking the applicant about the crime committed and/or do research and determine if the crime can be used to deny the rental.  More information may be found here.

If you are a renter and are thinking about buying a home, check out my “Services for Buyers” section on my website, or just give me a holler.

If you are an owner of a rental property and are considering selling, check out my “Services for Sellers” section on my website, or just give me a holler.

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