Potential Seattle Law Could Greatly Alter Use of Criminal History Reports in Tenant Screening; Opines TenantScreeningUSA.com

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Seattle's City Council is contemplating changes in rules governing the use of Criminal History reports as part of tenant screening and this change could potentially impact the entire country; opines TenantScreeningUSA.com's President and CEO, Adam Almeida. "The potential change in Seattle should be seen as a shot across the bow for all landlords and immediately alert them to a full tenant screening program review by a competent third-party tenant screening company."

Tenant Screening USA

TenantScreeningUSA.com

The potential change to law by Seattle should be an immediate wakeup call for all landlords and property managers. If the new law in Seattle proves viable it will certainly make its way across the country.

As Seattle's City Council contemplates changes to the laws governing the use of criminal background records as part of tenant screening, all landlords and property managers should take immediate notice. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "Changes in laws governing housing can come fast and seemingly out of nowhere, so Seattle's potential change in law should push all landlords and property managers to immediately have their tenant screening policies reviewed by a third-party tenant screening agency to ensure full compliance with existing law."

The potential law being considered by Seattle's City Council seeks to enhance rental options for individuals with criminal histories.

From Seattle.Curbed.com (Jun. 26, 17):

The proposed legislation, which Mayor Ed Murray sent to the City Council for consideration last week, would limit the role of criminal records in the tenant screening process. Landlords wouldn’t be able to screen applicants based on criminal convictions older than two years.

Also off the table: arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction; records that have been expunged, vacated, or sealed; and juvenile records. If a juvenile tenant is on the sex offender registry, that can’t be used for screening, either, but only juveniles—the ordinance cites a 2004 study that juvenile sex crimes have a low recidivism rate. (1)

Almeida states: "The potential change to law by Seattle should be an immediate wakeup call for all landlords and property managers. If the new law in Seattle proves viable it will certainly make its way across the country. And, even if the law does not create waves, the mere potential of such a law should push all landlords and property managers to conduct a full review of all existing policies, including reports used, regarding their tenant screening policies."

The proposed law also includes very specific language regarding the use of criminal records as well as narrowing the scope these documents can be used.

From SeattleTimes.com (Jun. 21, 17):

The proposed ordinance also would prevent landlords from screening prospective tenants based on juvenile records.

The legislation would bar landlords from using language in advertisements that categorically excludes people with criminal histories and would require them to provide business justifications for rejecting applicants based on their criminal histories.

Single-family homes and apartment buildings with four or fewer units where the owner lives on-site would be exempted. (2)

Almeida states: "This proposal should alert landlords and property managers to reviewing their current tenant screening policies. Working with a third-party tenant screening company is a best practice to ensure full compliance with existing and potential laws governing tenant background checks."

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with an experienced staff highly trained in all aspects of tenant screening, including laws and regulations governing the use of public records.

Notes:
(1) seattle.curbed.com/2017/6/26/15875700/fair-chance-housing-renting-criminal-records
(2) seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-mayor-proposes-help-for-renters-with-criminal-records/

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