According to the Seattle’s Renting Crisis Report from the Washington Community Action Network, “48% of individuals who pay for rent with Social Security Disability Insurance or Social Security retirement income said that discrimination prevents them from having successful rental applications.”
In addition to not allowing discrimination based on income sources, Seattle has passed legislation to include the following protections:
1. First-Come, First-Served Screening Practice. Prevents housing providers from giving applicants with alternative sources of income a lower priority. It requires landlords to review applications one at a time, on a first-come, first-served basis.
2. New Eviction Protections. Ensures that tenants can fully utilize community resources to prevent eviction. Landlords will be required to accept pledges from community-based organizations to remedy nonpayment of rent if funds are received within 5 days of an eviction notice.
3. Preferred Employer Programs Banned. Encourages landlords to offer non-discriminatory move-in incentives. In 2015, both media and community members reported discounts on deposits and other move-in fees for rental applicants working for preferred employers. The Seattle of Office of Civil Rights recently concluded that some preferred employer programs that provide discounts or other terms and conditions in rental housing to certain groups over others may constitute discrimination under Seattle’s Open Housing Ordinance (SMC 14.08).