News Jun 15, 2016 at 4:00 am

Seattle's Antidiscrimination Laws Are Supposed to Protect People Like Demetria Roundtree. But Are They Working?


I was in the same situation exactly, even down to income and career field, but I didn't have a voucher. I was priced out of my neighborhood in 2007 after the apartment I lived in was renovated into condos. I moved to a far flung neighborhood and lived there for 7 years. The lack of reliable public transportation and issues with our school moving made it impossible to continue on there. I moved back to my home state where I had never lived as an adult and, gosh, I miss Seattle terribly. But I don't regret leaving because it's possible to live above the poverty line where I am now, and I can give my kid a much more stable life.

I hope the tide turns in Seattle and Ms. Roundtree is able to attain what I couldn't. And if not, I hope she isn't afraid. Leaving can be the heartbreak before the new love.
We were considering placing a rental home we own on the section eight list. It is a nightmare. Also, the inspection requirements are completely absurd. For example, a crack on a plastic light switch cover will need replacing, but you are free to rip out carpets and just leave the plywood subfloor. A broken kitchen cabinet hinge will be a failure, but ripping off all the doors is fine. There is a guy who wrote a whole book about being a profitable section 8 landlord, and most of it is about the things you can take out of an apartment that will reduce the chances of damage and maintenance. It is a system with bad incentives for both sides.
@2 absolute truth. Sort of like hanging on to a relationship that isn't working. Better to end it, move on and find something better.
Kennesaw Mountain, thank you for your comment. I think it is important for tenants to understand the issues that landlords face; hopefully with the housing levy, we can wager incentives that benefit landlords so that tenants benefit.
Perhaps if the agency issuing the vouchers would indemnify the tenants; that is cover any damages the tenants might do to a residence. I think it could be reasonably determined if any excessive damage was deliberate. Those tenants that caused a lot of damage might then find their future choices in public housing much more limited.

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