Washington State’s Attorney General’s office has indicated that when screening rental applicants, treating criminal history as cause for an automatic denial is discriminatory. The AG’s office has filed against a Tacoma property management company because they told a prospect that a felony conviction would be an automatic denial. According to the court decree, the issue is that the applicant was denied without considering, “when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed or what the applicant had done since the conviction.”
Having to consider the circumstances of a particular applicant’s criminal history appears to be contradictory to the 2012 Fair Tenant Screening Act. This act requires that landlords apply the same screening criteria to all applicants. Be cautious if denying an applicant due to criminal history!
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