We reported (here) on a recent and troubling local law in Portland, Oregon that limits landlords’ ability to provide safe housing by restricting the ability to conduct credit and criminal background checks on prospective tenants. We reported (here) on a small but disturbing trend of other cities and counties passing ordinances similar to that which passed in Portland.
We are glad to see that apartment owners are fighting back against some of the local laws, often because these laws violate the U.S. Constitution and are preempted by federal and state laws. The latest group to fight is Multifamily NW, a trade association whose members own or manage more than 30,000 apartments in Portland. Multifamily filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Portland ordinance is unconstitutional and is preempted by state law. A story about the litigation appeared recently in the Willamette Weekly.
In November 2017, CDIA filed an amicus brief in Yim v. Seattle, a case in federal court challenging Seattle’s limitation on the use of criminal background checks for residential screening. CDIA’s brief, jointly filed with NAPBS, was filed in support of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgement. CDIA and NAPBS filed a response to the city’s objections to the joint amicus brief. Amici briefs in support of the plaintiffs were filed by the National Apartment Association, and the National Consumer Reporting Association.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More