In the City of Seattle, unincorporated King County, Bellevue, and Redmond 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 initially 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. Civil rights agencies enforce these laws. Find out more information at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, King County Office of Civil Rights, and the City of Bellevue Development Services Department. The City of Redmond recently passed an ordinance requiring Section 8 protections. They are working on developing an enforcement mechanism, which will likely have their Code Enforcement Dept. following up on tenant complaints.
Housing advocates are currently working to change the laws so that all renters in the state are protected from discrimination based on source of income or Section 8 voucher status. The Tenants Union of Washington believe that discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders is unjust and that discrimination protection for Section 8 voucher tenants is essential for all tenants in the state. See Housing Access Project for more information.
Tenants Union Tenant Counselors are not attorneys, and this information should not be considered legal advice. Please read our full Tenant Union Disclaimer.