Q: Can I, as a landlord ask if my applicant is a registered sex offender when applying to rent a
property that is located within the Seattle City limits?
A: Yes, you may ask the question however, you must understand the restrictions set forth in the
Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) and be prepared to implement the requirements.
Q: The applicant is an adult now but was convicted as a juvenile when the offense occurred, may
I deny them tenancy?
A: SMC prohibits any adverse action towards an applicant if the applicant is or was a juvenile at
the time of sex registration.
Q: May I deny an applicant tenancy because they are a registered sex offender? Do I have the
right to protect my property that is located within the Seattle City limits by doing so?
A: According to SMC 14.09.025.A.3, you must have a legitimate business reason analysis done
before you take adverse action based on sex offender registry information. Please read the notice
below regarding this part of the SMC*
Q: If an applicant is convicted as a juvenile and is a registered sex offender, can I deny the
applicant for tenancy?
A: SMC prohibits any adverse action towards an applicant if the applicant is a juvenile at the
time of sex registration.
*When considering sex offender registry information, the following factors relating to the
conviction(s) that requires registry on a local, state, or national sex offender registry:
- The nature and severity of the conviction
- The number and types of convictions
- The time that has elapsed since the date of conviction
- Age of the individual at the time of convictions
- Evidence of good tenant history before and/or after the conviction occurred
- Any supplemental information related to the individual’s rehabilitation, good conduct, and additional facts or explanations provided by the individual, if the individual chooses
to do so.
For more information, refer to Seattle Office for Civil Rights Fair Housing Ordinance SMC 14.09
- On July 31, 2019
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