Seattle Source of Income Laws

In Seattle a residential landlord may not discriminate against renters or rental applicants based on source of income. “All sources of income must be included as a part of the tenant’s total income” when screening a potential tenant. This means that Seattle landlords must credit things like Section 8 payments and child support as income.

Also, if the landlord uses rent-to-income ratios or similar screening criteria, the landlord must subtract the Section 8 payment from the rent in these screening calculations.

Seattle landlords are required to cooperate with potential and current tenants in “completing and submitting required information and documentation for the potential or current occupant to be eligible for or to receive rental assistance from Section 8” and other subsidy programs.

If a Seattle residential tenant falls behind in rent, the landlord is required to accept a “written pledge or commitment by a Section 8 or other subsidy program to pay for past due or current housing costs, and court costs or reasonable attorney’s fees already incurred.”

There are some conditions that must be met before the landlord is required to accept a written pledge. The landlord is only required to accept a written pledge if “by itself or in combination with…other payments from a Section 8 or other subsidy program, and any verifiable source of income…the written pledge or commitment is sufficient to allow the occupant to become current on all housing costs, and court costs or reasonable attorney’s fees already incurred….” The landlord is not required to accept the written pledge unless it is received before the cure period on a notice to pay rent or vacate, or notice to comply or vacate.

The written pledge is not enforceable if it is contingent on the landlord agreeing to conditions, such as a pledge to forgo future unlawful detainer actions. The landlord is not required to accept the written pledge unless Section 8 or other provider “commits to paying the written pledge or commitment to the owner within five business days of issuing the written pledge or commitment.”

This is a short summary of Seattle residential landlord-tenant law as it pertains to source of income. For advice about your circumstances you should consult an attorney.