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US judge upholds Seattle renter protections

The protections, enshrined in the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, prohibit most landlords from inquiring about the criminal history of renters or prospective renters.

SEATTLE — A federal judge has upheld renter protections passed by the Seattle City Council in 2017, finding that they are a reasonable approach for reducing housing discrimination. 

The protections, enshrined in the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, prohibit most landlords from inquiring about the criminal history of renters or prospective renters. 

The city said it was trying to reduce barriers to housing for people with criminal records and to reduce discrimination in housing, because people of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

A group of landlords sued in 2018, claiming violations of their property and free-speech rights. 

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour ruled in favor of the city on Tuesday.