New Seattle Ordinance Prohibits Screening Tenants for Criminal Records

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criminal records

Special Announcement to all City of Seattle landlords:

Effective February 19, 2018, the City of Seattle, WA will enforce an ordinance that restricts landlords in the city from asking about and using criminal records for tenant screening.

Under the ordinance, the following restrictions, among others, will apply:

  1. No landlords or other persons may perform criminal records on a prospective or current tenant. Review of sex offender registries is allowed.
  2. If reviewing sex offender registries, the practice must be listed on the screening criteria and must also be written on the application. Before a landlord or any person rejects an applicant or tenant based on sex offender registry information, there must be a legitimate business reason.

The full text of this ordinance is available here.

This law will require a review of the screening process in place and may require changes to that process. In order to comply with this law, Justifacts recommends that you consult with your legal department. This will help your company determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your hiring process.


It is important to note that Justifacts is providing this information as a service to our clients. None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor is Justifacts engaged to provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult your attorney or legal department if you want assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.


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