Controversial Seattle landlord law tossed out by judge
A controversial City of Seattle ordinance that required landlords to rent to the first qualified applicant was overturned in King County Superior Court Wednesday.
Judge Suzanne Parisien ruled that the measure amounted to an “uncompensated taking” by government because it eliminated a property owner’s discretion to choose a renter.
RELATED: Landlords and the “gut check”
The judge, in granting the plaintiffs’ request for summary judgement, noted that while the city council-approved ordinance had a worthwhile goal of thwarting renter-discrimination, it didn’t “directly and materially advance the city’s interest in preventing discrimination because it precludes the use of landlord discretion.”
Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Ethan Blevins, who represented a group of landlords opposing the rule, hailed the ruling as a victory for small landlords.
“Today’s ruling is a major victory for property rights and our clients, who can once again make basic judgment calls over who will live on their property,” he said. “A landlord isn’t just a convenience store where customers come and go within minutes. They have long-term relationships with their tenants, and they deserve the chance to decide who those tenants will be.”
“The court’s ruling today is a major relief for Seattle’s small landlords who just want to protect their investment and decide who they are comfortable renting to,” Blevins said.
John Schochet, spokesman for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, said the city is “disappointed” in the ruling and that it will decide whether or not to appeal in coming days.