Should landlords in Seattle be able to turn away a prospective tenant because they've been arrested?
It’s just one of the questions before the Seattle City Council as it considers a “Fair Housing” bill, which could place restrictions on landlords and who, or who they may not, rent to.
On Thursday night, Councilmember Lisa Herbold held a public hearing on the bill, which includes several proposed provisions and exemptions for landlords. The bill’s proponents claim current regulations unfairly punish people of color, and made it difficult for people battling homelessness to find stable housing.
Scott Clancy, who was convicted of fraud in 2002 and spent four years in federal prison, went to the meeting. He says “finding housing when I got out was very difficult" and that landlords would even, years later, decline to rent to him. He has battled homelessness, until recently.
“Being on the street, it's difficult to find a place a to live. It's hard to keep yourself clean and looking half decent when you meet with a landlord or management company,” said Clancy. “I believe very strongly everyone deserves a second chance; a crime should not work against you for the rest of your life.”
The bill still needs committee review before going to the full council.
Read more on the Fair Chance Housing legislation.