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Fair Housing in Seattle

The city of Seattle offers additional protection against discrimination in housing based on membership in a protected class. Discrimination against tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, disability, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation (including gender identity), and veteran/military status is illegal across the state of Washington. Inside the city limits of Seattle, it is also illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of age, political ideology, the use of a trained guide dog, or Section 8 (Housing Choice) Voucher status. Landlords in Seattle cannot legally decide not to rent to someone just because they are in any one of these protected classes, nor can they treat renters in those groups any differently than other tenants.

In the city of Seattle, Redmond, as well as unincorporated King County, and Bellevue it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against someone because of their status as a Section 8 voucher holder. Landlords in these areas cannot legally refuse to rent to someone just because they use a Section 8 voucher to pay their rent. Landlords in these areas must offer one-year leases for Section 8 voucher tenants, and cannot charge Section 8 tenants a rental rate that exceeds the rate charged to a non-Section 8 tenant. However, landlords do not have to lower their standard market rental rates to make the unit reasonably affordable to Section 8 voucher tenants. Find out more information about your fair housing rights or how to file a discrimination complaint at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

In addition, the City of Seattle is currently considering a proposal to make it illegal for housing providers to discriminate against tenants on the basis of arrest or conviction record history. For more information, see Seattle Human Rights Commission’s Proposed Ordinance to End Arrest/Conviction Record Discrimination and Eliminating Barriers to Jobs and Housing. See also Seattle Criminal Record Discrimination for more information on the TU’s Access to Housing work.

Tenants Union Tenant Counselors are not attorneys, and this information should not be considered legal advice. Please read our full Tenant Union Disclaimer.