Seattle leads the nation in ensuring renters have access to opportunity.
8/23/2017 SEATTLE – Mayor Ed Murray is pleased to announce that Seattle City Council approved legislation today to help prevent housing discrimination against renters with a past criminal record.
The Fair Chance Housing ordinance cleared the Council by an 8 to 0 vote. The new ordinance prevents landlords from unfairly denying applicants housing based on criminal history. It also prohibits the use of advertising language that categorically excludes people with arrests or conviction records.
“Today is a historic day, capping years of work by community partners with the City of Seattle to help make our housing market more just and equitable for all,” said Patricia Lally, Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. “Their vision paved the way.”
For nearly a decade community groups have called on the City to address the effect of a past criminal record on a person’s ability to rent housing. One group in particular helped to start the discussion - women of color living in transitional housing, who urged the City to address their ability to find housing and provide for their families.
"Ensuring people have fair access to housing is about equity and about ensuring everyone has the ability contribute in our society, including getting a good job and raising a family,” said Mayor Ed Murray.
In 2015, the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) recommended the City address these barriers to housing via legislation. In response, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and the Mayor’s Office convened the Fair Chance Housing Committee to receive input as a policy was developed.