In Seattle it costs the landlord a minimum of $5K -- and likely a lot more -- to evict a problem tenant. You get stuck with lawyer fees (you have to show cause), court fees, lost rent, moving fees, storage fees (yes, you have to pay to store their stuff), etc., and that's if you win and you get a quick and easy judgement. While the months-long process drags along, the bad tenant may damage the property or drive away your other tenants, costing you more in repairs and lost rent. Basically, once you let a bad tenant move in, you are screwed. The only real protection the landlord has is to assiduously screen prospective tenants, but now we are (admittedly with some justification) outlawing more of the criteria that landlords use for that screening.
Our laws are designed to protect renters from unfair discrimination and eviction, but a side effect is to shift the economic risk and burden of housing certain problem characters onto landlords. Not all landlords, mind you -- just those who provide the affordable housing that a convicted felon might qualify for. The safest thing for such a landlord to do is to install those granite counter tops and raise their prices. The outcome won't be felons finding homes, it will be affordable housing going away even faster.
If the city really wants to help, they should fund a comprehensive solution, and assume some of the risk. There are lots of creative ways that they could provide incentives and assurances to landlords who agree to take on risky tenants. But as it is, they have just created a set of powerful incentives for landlords to quit serving our less wealthy citizens.
Seattle is a nasty fukin, expensive fascist-shithole. No decent place to live. Air will kill ya. Muther fuckers are not liberal. Cops major jackasses. If you are poor or even makin it, you do not stand a chance. The miserable, hype and lies about this evil shithole. A snakebin thatstinks with greed and hatred for most people. It is unreal. The stupid fukers cannot even find a place children and old people.
The chickenshit landlords, fascist, libertards have created massive homelessness. Goddamned creepy bastards wonder why desperation and crime is growing, in this evil shithole. Glad i am not there anymore. Skads of children and old people homeless. A frikin abomination.
Do not pay attention to the criminal lying bastard landlords, payed trolls, and bots that are spamming this thread. They are liars, phoneys and the worst psychopaths.
And we just had a case of a man stabbing his female roommate to death in Wallingford. If he gets out of prison in his lifetime, is that the kind of person you want to rent to? How about the teens who killed Tuba Man? A few of them are running free, and according to this law, you would have to rent to them. I’m sure all of you bleeding hearts on The Stranger staff would be totes cool with renting to a violent ex-felon, right?
The law is okay for misdemeanors, perhaps. But landlords should be able to take felonies like murder and assault into account in addition to sex crimes. The plaintiffs are right — this law is far too broad.
The city should set up a program where the city will indemnify landlords who will take in felons as well as section eight tenants.
If the City forces you to take on a felon you don't want and then something bad happens, is the City liable?
I know that as a former landlord my first thought was always, gee, maybe I can find someone fresh out of prison to rent to. And, of course, the neighbors were also equally enthusiastic about the idea. Who wouldn't be?
Bad enough yet Seattle? Housing and homeless getting worse, insane SDOT overruns, can't write legislation that survives legal challenge, drastic tax increases, division, crazy take precedence on the council. And, we have had several years of economic boom. SCC are really bad at their job.
There are many unintended consequences here, especially in a hot market. Many will be like myself and only rent to coworkers or friends at below market rates.
My husband had a coworker who was raped and murdered by another tenant (one with a previous violent record) at her apartment building in Redmond after she met him at the building's annual Halloween party. While her family was in India and unable to sue the apartment complex the ethical responsibility really lies with the building's management. I do not believe that victimization of co-tenants by violent criminals is as isolated as this article would indicate.
@16 is right about unintended consequences. One obvious way to not rent to felons is by not offering apartments at the lower end of the market. This law gives landlords yet another incentive not to provide low-cost housing but to try to build/own/offer things at the higher end of the market, where the ex-cons are less likely to be shopping.
Taking away discretion to use one's judgment means that lots of people who deserve a chance will be denied because we're forced to set a high bar to qualify for housing. Many people with bad credit, low incomes, criminal records etc. are putting things back together, deserve a shot, and end up making great tenants, but unfortunately a very high fraction of people in these groups don't. The only way to avoid the latter is to set the bar high enough so that no one who does not have very good qualifications gets considered. This is exactly what is wrong with the first in time law, as well.
No one requires other businesses to accept high risks without the ability to exercise some judgment. And before people raise the argument that housing is different because it is an essential, so is food and clothing. Would you suggest that we force the grocery store or a department store to accept a check from anyone who walks in regardless of their record of non-payment etc.?
If we as a society want to provide housing to those who can't do it on their own, great. I support that as do the other landlords I know. I've consistently voted for taxes for homeless services and would welcome the City actually building some low-income housing instead of wasting millions of $$ that are having no results. But asking a small group of people to shoulder the burden and risk of housing persons who are terrible risks just because they own property is a terrible idea.
See all the whiney psychopathic, lying landlord mouthpieces and their shills in this thread. They probably hire buttwhipes to comment on sites like this.They are 1 in 60 or less in shithole seattle. They are less than one percent for the monster absentee landlord oligarchs in china , saudii arabia, or russia. Yet they are almost 100% in this thread. Because they are heavily priviliged, entitled saks o shit they can do anything to you at anytime in this society. They are why there are cops. Thats the way this society was setup and truly is. In this fake sociwty where most people are indebt to their necks, most dont own as much as they project. Yet they will dominate you. They will fuk u over in a heartbeat with their phoney projected status. Ythe fake shits that post on housing issue articles in rags like slog or online sites, have the time and money to spam free rags like slog with yur lying horsewhit, yet most shitass landlords or managers will not even fix a toilet in shithole seattle! They are so evil. They are such bastards. Their vanity, their greed knows no limits. Their capacity for torture and making people suffer , has no limits. For lying, cheating, stealing and even killing. Fuk them. Do not pay heed to the fraudulent pro-landlord posts here. Most of the Fuckers are in china, vactioning in france, gulping major resources everywhere in this phoney shithole town and country. People wonder why the crime and desperation in slimey seattle is growing and outrageous. Their are tens of thousands of desperate homeless children, elderly, disabled, hardworking people.
The greedy goddamned landlords will not fix a sink. Their appetite for criminal deception and inhuman domination has no limits. Cold blooded, inhuman greedy fuks. Their entitlement knows no bounds. Only they can make the laws, because that is the capitalist murican way! Their sukass managers hate knows no bounds. Fuk all of them, riseup! Dont be beaten down by the phoney lies and brainwashing, the vicegrip control of the inverted totalitarian state in this evil fascist, libertards, neoliberal rightwing-shithole country. They are the few! We are the many!
They makeup about 2 percent of seattle and they own 100 percent of it.
Right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation from CA and Bellevue is again attacking Seattle for trying to make our city affordable not just to rich techies. City Council got it right passing this law which recognizes that 1/3 of Seattleites have a record & landlord discretion results in discrimination. PLF fails to point to any data that shows people with criminal records make bad tenants, it's simply not true. They will lose in court, but have to waste our tax dollars to hype their ideology.
Len - That must have been one fucked up sink.
@20-there is a big gap between "rich techies" and people with criminal records. A person with a criminal record has demonstrated that he/she is not willing to follow certain rules. Does that matter? Depends on what the rules were. Smoking pot? driving on a suspended license? I don't know any landlords who would care. Assault or domestic violence? I don't know a lot of landlords who would want to move someone with that kind of a record in next door to their other tenants. And a person with a record is far more likely to commit more crimes than one without. Look at it this way - you are trusting the tenant with a multi-hundred thousand dollar piece of property. Would you prefer to loan your car to someone with a record or without?
I would argue that the burden is not on the landlords to show that those with records make worse tenants, but it is on the offender to show that he/she is not a bad risk. do you have a study to back up your assertion that it is "simply not true"?
As for felony drug crimes, a tenant selling or manufacturing drugs can have real consequences for a landlord. Nobody wants to have to deal with that.
This law is especially egregious in light of the first in time law which meant that you HAD to take the guy with three assault convictions if he had the right qualifications & applied first. If you can consider people as individuals, a ban on screening for convictions makes more sense. Have they paid their debt & become a good citizen? Or were they released last week on that manslaughter sentence?
And as to affordability "not just to rich techies," the city is full of people who are not rich techies but somehow manage not to have records. you are conflating two different issues.
@19: Len- I can only admire the finely tuned logic of your argument, and your elegant and compelling writing style. You fucking win, dude!
I am going to go have a beer now and sulk at being vanquished.
@22 I would argue the burden is on the landlord not to discriminate. Are you pro-discrimination? We have a long history of fighting for civil rights, slowly, step by step, and ensuring people who have served their time can reintegrate into society (isn't that what we want from rehabilitation?) is another step despite efforts by the PLF to keep discrimination legal - discrimination that has a disproportionate impact on African Americans. Look at the results of who gets rented to and who is declined and try to explain it's "color blind" or that discretion is a property right. Please.
Also, from your comment #18: "But asking a small group of people to shoulder the burden and risk of housing persons who are terrible risks just because they own property is a terrible idea." So, I think you missed the part where the majority of Seattle doesn't see massive and small time landlords as the victim here. It's the people being kept out, whether they're living in poverty, have a criminal record, or, sorry to burst the bubble of any post-racial believers, because they're Black, Latino, or Native. A woman I know was rejected for 18 years after serving her time for a non-violent record. She's not a "terrible risk," she's a nice neighbor who worked hard to get back on her feet despite the backwards Libertarian efforts of PLF and their Koch Brothers sugar daddies.
You ask: "do you have a study to back up your assertion that it is "simply not true"?" Yup. This peer reviewed study (http://www.nyujlpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Ehman-Reosti-2015-nyujlpp-quorum-1.pdf) searched for reliable proof, studies, or data backing your/PLF belief that people with criminal records make bad tenants. Found none. Because it's not there. Where's your proof? Besides fear mongering with unsubstantiated "what ifs"? I'll wait...
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