We have written several times about the Seattle Fair Chance housing and employment law and how one building owner filed a brief in the litigation over the ordinance highlighting the spike in criminal activity in and to its building in the city. GRE Downtowner is not the only building to experience problems, however. The Washington Multifamily Housing Association published an update for its members early in 2020. In that update, it was noted that following passage of the Seattle Fair Chance ordinance, overall denials increased 8%, another landlord had one tenant that caused $186,000 in damage and costs during his tenancy that, had the landlord been able to delve deeper in to that tenant’s criminal past, may have resulted in a different rental decision at the time of application. Another tenant at another property had fugitive warrants for burglary when he stabbed a guest in the building in the chest over a cell phone. This information also appeared in the opposition testimony to legislation in the Washington legislature to create a statewide law similar to the Seattle ordinance (Wash. S.B. 6490 (2020)).
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