The Seattle City Council voted Monday to restrict the ability of landlords to use a prospective tenant’s criminal history as a reason to deny housing.
Landlords could previously see a formerly incarcerated individual’s criminal record stretching back seven years, and use it in their decision-making process to rent to that person. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued guidance in 2016 noting that this could have a discriminatory effect on people of color who are far more likely than White people to be involved in the criminal justice system.
The bill was hailed by the Fare Housing Coalition — a group of advocacy organizations and service providers — as an important tool to prevent housing discrimination, homelessness and recidivism.
Landlord groups opposed the bill.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Washington background checking agencies are flawed and unenforced
Proposed legislation would limit criminal background checks for rental housing
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