LOCAL NEWS

Seattle’s rental law will not take people off the streets, housing rep. says

Aug 15, 2017, 8:26 AM | Updated: 10:37 am
one table, business tax, homeless, homelessness, head tax...
(File, AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(File, AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

New legislation that prevents Seattle landlords from denying housing to someone with a criminal past is all about reducing the number of people living on the streets and combating inequality.

But that may just force landlords to do more of a deep dive into financial and other civil records, Sean Martin with the Rental Housing Association of Washington says.

“There are other means and tools out there,” he said.

There is enough criteria outside of criminal records that landlords can use to deny someone housing, he says. Taking a look at previous evictions, for example, could provide evidence that the person applying is a financial risk.

“Bottom line, landlords want to make sure tenants are responsible and that is what you’d look at…”

Martin opposes the legislation approved by the Seattle City Council Monday that prevents landlords from excluding people with criminal records in their ads and prevents landlords from asking about criminal history during the application process.

“It is bad news. Yes. We are further restricting things down to check boxes and taking the human aspect out of the rental business,” he said. “Especially for small landlords. And I don’t think that it is going to be a good thing for the industry long term; for the tenant long term.”

There are approximately 11,600 homeless people in King County. A count by All Home found 5,485 were unsheltered in January. That includes people living on the street, in abandoned buildings as well as vehicles, and tents.

More than 7,000 of those considered homeless live in Seattle.

Property owners can still refuse to rent to registered sex-offenders. They can also refuse to rent to someone if they will share an area of the home with them, or if the building has four or fewer tenants.

Studies have indicated that criminal records are not a reliable indicator of whether someone will be a risky tenant. But Martin says this legislation will not reduce the number of people living on the streets by a dramatic number. There needs to be more support services built around the legislation to make everyone feel more comfortable, he says.

With the approval of this new legislation, Martin says it’s “absolutely possible” for the city to go after other forms of record checks. He points out that the city needs to remember that the buildings and units being rented are private property and not a “public housing commodity.”

Listen to the entire interview here.

Local News

(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Signs, cameras proposed amid spike in car break-ins at King County trailheads

Councilmember Reagan Dunn said there has been an increase in car prowls at parking lots of trailheads as more people are getting outdoors.
22 hours ago
Follow @http://www.twitter.com/Darren_KIROnews...
Darren Dedo

Sumner Police Investigating Hates Crimes Involving Churches

Sumner Police are investigating suspected hate crimes at two houses of worship that were vandalized early Tuesday morning.
22 hours ago
King County Executive Dow Constantine. (Executive Constantine, Twitter)...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County Council pledges $1 million to help those seeking abortions out of state

The full council voted with the ordinance passing 8-1, arguing that the expenditure was justified because the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
22 hours ago
(Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)...
Hanna Scott

WA lawmaker says launch of 988 system has the opportunity to ‘save lives’

Washington is far ahead of the pack on that front as one of only four states to pass implementation legislation including a comprehensive funding plan.
22 hours ago
injuries...
MyNorthwest Staff

Harborview‘s number of firework-related injuries over the July Fourth weekend dips

2022 was better than your average year -- at least in King County -- for the number of Fourth of July-related injuries and property damage.
22 hours ago
Photo by Al Drago...
MyNorthwest Staff

Tacoma woman pleads guilty defrauding $600,000 from friends

A 40-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to committing a series of schemes to defraud friends and acquaintances of more than $600,000 over nearly 10 years.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Seattle’s rental law will not take people off the streets, housing rep. says