Fair Chance Housing and Eviction Records

On May 15, 2020, new amendments to the City of Seattle's Fair Chance Housing Ordinance went into effect. These amendments extend protections against the use of eviction history in housing. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is responsible for immediate enforcement of the law, now called Seattle's Fair Chance Housing and Eviction Records Ordinance. 

Why were these amendments made?

On March 23, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee announced a "Stay-Home" order that required that all non-essential businesses be closed. That order was extended and has resulted in financial instability for many in our communities about how to pay rent and meet other expenses. Although some evictions for non-payment of rent always occur, the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 will increase the likelihood of tenants facing eviction. Evictions can have long-term impacts on individuals, families, and the City.

What do the amendments do?  

The protections cover eviction history occurring during or within six months after the end of the civil emergency proclaimed by Mayor Durkan on March 3, 2020. The amendments include the following:  

  1. Definition of eviction history.
  2. Requirement for landlords to notify tenants of these protections.
  3. Protection for tenants based on eviction history occurring during this time period.
  4. Declaration of eviction history during this time period as good cause for an order of limited dissemination. An order of limited dissemination allows tenants to have their records excluded from future tenant reports.
  5. Protection for tenants from retaliation for exercising their rights under the law.
  6. Creation of a rebuttable presumption in favor of a person if eviction history appears in information given to the landlord and the landlord takes an adverse action against the person. A rebuttable presumption means assuming it is true unless there is evidence to prove otherwise. 

Frequently Asked Questions

View Council Bill 119787 here.