City of Seattle accuses 13 property owners of rental housing discrimination
SEATTLE — The city of Seattle accused 13 property owners of rental housing discrimination, and 12 agreed to settle the charges, the city announced Tuesday.
Seattle filed the charges with the Washington State Human Rights Commission.
The Seattle Office of Civil Rights said testing revealed that prospective renters experienced different treatment from Seattle landlords over half the time across all four tested categories: race, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Testers posed as prospective renters, so the different treatment they experienced depended on the information they received from landlords and the questions they were asked,” the city said in a news release.
“For example, African American and Latino testers were told about criminal background and credit history checks more frequently than the white testers. They also were asked more often about their spouses’ employment history (especially with Latino testers). They were shown and told about fewer amenities, provided fewer applications and brochures, and were shown fewer vacant units. In some cases, the prices quoted were higher for the same unit.
“Testers for sexual orientation and gender identity were shown fewer amenities, provided fewer applications and brochures, and were shown fewer vacant units. In some cases, the prices quoted were higher for the same unit.”
Patricia Lally, director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, said, “We have filed charges in 13 cases where the differences in treatment were undeniable. These test results are not isolated incidents – they demonstrate patterns of behavior that have profound impacts on people’s lives.”
The city said 12 of the property managers have agreed to reimburse Seattle for the costs of testing, require their employees to attend fair housing training, provide funding for a fair housing campaign, and post fair housing notices in their properties to inform residents of their rights.