2013: Remove Housing Barriers & Enact Fair Tenant Screening Act

The rental application and screening process presents a number of barriers for many people. For years, housing advocates in Washington have worked to make the process more transparent and fair. We’ve had some victories over the last two legislative sessions:

  • 2012: The Fair Tenant Screening Act, Part 1 provided more organized regulations for tenant screening. Thanks to these changes, prospective tenants now know what information will be used to determine their acceptance or denial before they pay application fees.
  • 2013: The Fair Tenant Screening Act, Part 2 will protect survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking from housing discrimination. Currently, some screening reports unfairly include tenants’ records of domestic violence. This can cause survivors of these crimes to be denied housing, creating a difficult and even dangerous situation for someone trying to flee an attacker. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, tenant screening companies will be prohibited from reporting that a tenant is a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Thank you for advocating for this important law. Your phone calls, emails, in-person meetings with legislators, and video comments have made a difference. We also thank our lawmakers for prioritizing fairness for violence survivors.

There’s still more work to do! Tenants pay over and over again for repetitive screening reports, and the costs can quickly add up. We’ll keep the conversation going about cost-effective and efficient reporting options that will help break down barriers to housing.

Stay informed; register on Firesteel website if you haven’t yet! When you do, the website will be tailored to you, and you will be matched to your legislators. We’ll be able to send you messages specific to your voting district.

Housing advocates are all smiles as Gov. Inslee signs the Fair Tenant Screening Act on April 23, 2013. Photo credit: Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.