It is now official within the city limits of Seattle, landlords will soon be barred from excluding people with criminal records from renting their property; they will be barred from asking about criminal records on rental applications and screening potential tenants based on their criminal history. This is so because on Monday the Seattle City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting the act of rejecting people due to their records. The ordinance will take effect 150 days after being signed by the mayor.
In short, landlords will be required to demonstrate a ‘legitimate business interest’ when denying a potential tenant the ability to rent or lease their property. As with any ordinance, there are exceptions. For instance, Landlords will be able to deny people rental property which are listed on sex-offender registries, and landlords who rent part of their home, or who share space with a tenant, will be exempt.
The primary purpose of the ordinance is to stem recidivism rates of crime by giving these folks a place to live and not simply put them on the streets – homeless. Rental applicants who feel wronged can file complaints with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights. A first time violation will carry with it a maximum penalty of $11,000, a second time violation within five years will carry with it a maximum penalty of $27,500, and a third time violation within seven years will carry a maximum penalty of $55,000.
Whenever cited for a crime it is imperative to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Attorney. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.