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WA: Seattle set to prevent landlords from considering applicants’ criminal records

[The Seattle Times]

Seattle set to prevent landlords from considering applicants’ criminal records. Seattle landlords would be almost completely prohibited from screening prospective tenants based on their criminal histories, under a proposed ordinance approved by a City Council committee Tuesday.

The only people who could be denied housing based on their criminal histories would be those listed on sex-offender registries because of adult convictions.

And landlords denying housing to such sex offenders would still need to state a legitimate business reason for doing so.

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  1. Joe

    Not to worry. The landlords will figure out a way around the law. Haven’t they done that in California by using everything other than the sex offender registry to deny registrants?

    • JAB

      Hi Joe,

      They actually are using sex offender websites to view applicants and evict tenants inCA. I am baffled how they get away with it.

      • @JAB

        Which is interesting because if the website(s) you refer is not updated, then they could be denied on false information. What kind of legal repercussions lay in wait on that one?

      • AlexO

        Because they don’t state anything as a reason. They either choose not to re-up the lease, or, if there is no lease, they simply choose not to continue doing business with you and give you a 60 day notice. All that is perfectly legal and doesn’t require any reason. It’s what happened to me when I lost my home of 20+ years.

  2. Gralphr

    While it has good intentions, it still isn’t enough. The problem is they concentrate on sexual crimes, but totally ignore all of the other acts of violence directed towards kids AND adults. Gang members, wife/kid beaters ok, sexual crimes, not so much.

    • David

      @ Gralphr: Don”t forget convicted arsonists and those convicted of gun offenses. They’re fine too. …just not Registrants. Yeah, it’s the usual sh#t.

  3. Nicholas Maietta

    The problem is that the registry isn’t considered punishment and is also considered public record. Being on the registry itself isn’t a “criminal record” and likely legally excluded from being covered under the proposed law.

    • New Person

      That’s odd. Because if they’re hiding criminal records, then why would registrants be on there at all? That should imply registrants should never be denied any access b/c it’s not a criminal record, it’s a civil one.

      Apparently, the civil intent has gone punitive as shown by this exclusion – ruined on both sides: not a criminal aspect, but treated like one more dangerous.

  4. T

    This is discrimination, and if there’s no reason to exclude registrants from renting and getting a place to live. The reason why they won’t want to allow registrants to rent is because of these notifications being in the hands of weak minded individuals and they’ll squeal around to the public about a tenant being RSO that’s going to do something real bad and create hysteria, to humiliate and harass a registrant.

  5. Timmr

    “The only people who could be denied housing based on their criminal histories would be those listed on sex-offender registries because of adult convictions.”
    Of course, exclude the group with the lowest re-offense rate. No one will complain about that, will they?

    • New Person

      The registry is not criminal because that means it is punitive. This is supposed to be a civil record.

  6. Civil rights first

    Hmm….. If you run a criminal background check on me it comes back clean…. 20 years ago was my last criminal offence….. But the registry isn’t punitive it’s civil…. So how does a civil notification get one denied housing…. It’s that wink wink BS…. It’s civil (Wink wink) not punitive. The last background check I had done on me was when I got my last job…. Nothing came back on the criminal background but a short sentence saying potential match on the registry…. Tell me why that comes up in a background check…… Because it’s flipping punitive that’s why!

  7. Timmr

    There are say 400+ something comments from landlords saying what a bad idea this is, and not for the reasons we like. Does anyone feel like commenting there? I am for some reason having a hard time thinking of something to say.

    • kind of living

      FB and Tweet are the only options to be able to leave a comment , they pretty much just want to build a bubble around them selfs , I wish they would so not to infect even more people , I see what some are trying to say about people cooking dope in the homes , but their not going to be able to stop that by running some check on someone that’s did their time and trying to become a productive member of the community , who knows maybe the Mr and Miss’s fancy pants that have a fat bank account and great record could be doing all of the nightmare stuff they are talking about , same crap just a broader spectrum , and the city counsel trying to open a few doors , kind of strange being the city it has become ,

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