Seattle First in Time Law


The Seattle first-in-time ordinance requires Seattle residential landlords to provide notice of screening criteria. Seattle landlords must keep accurate records of the date and time completed applications are received. The landlord must rent to the first qualified applicant. The Seattle first-in-time ordinance affords no discretion to the landlord. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in landlord liability for civil penalties, rent refunds or credits, attorney fees and costs, and other potential repercussions.

Notice of rental screening criteria.

Prior to collecting any information about a prospective renter, a Seattle landlord must provide notice of:

• The minimum criteria that an applicant will need to qualify;
• All documents or information that they will need to provide to the landlord;
• How to request additional time if the applicant needs to seek out language interpretation or translation, or if the applicant needs a reasonable accommodation for a disability;
• Whether the property is required or has voluntarily agreed to set aside units to serve vulnerable populations; and
• Any different or additional criteria that will be used to conduct an individualized assessment of an applicant’s criminal record.

The rental screening criteria notice must be provided in writing, by posting it in the rental office or in the building that is being advertised. The rental screening criteria notice must also be included on any website the landlord uses to advertise the unit.