The King County Superior Court struck down a Seattle law requiring landlords to accept the first qualified candidate that applies for an apartment March 28, allowing property owners to deny applicants despite their ability to pay for the unit.
Judge Suzanne Parisien found that “choosing a tenant is a fundamental attribute of property ownership,” and that the first-in-time rule negated landlords’ property rights.
The Rental Housing Association of Washington celebrated the decision, saying that the court had “recognized the rights of rental housing owners to decide how to lawfully operate their private property.”
Proponents of the measure hold that it allows landlords to discriminate against potential tenants, irrespective of their ability to pay for or maintain an unit. The law was one of a suite of tenant protection measures passed by the City Council, including prohibitions on researching criminal histories and the ability to pay certain move-in fees over the course of several months.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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