Photo: Harold Hollingsworth/Flickr
After sting operations by the Seattle Office of Civil Rights exposed discrimination against Seattleites who pay their rent with alternative sources of income, the Seattle City Council took action.
An ordinance passed this week bans landlords from discriminating against renters who generate income via sources such as Social Security benefits, unemployment insurance, child-support payments and other assistance programs, reports The Seattle Times.
Advocates of the ordinance have explained that protecting people with alternative sources of income will especially help mothers, people experiencing homelessness and people of color. It expands on protection already offered to members of the Section 8 program, which subsidizes housing for qualified low-income renters.
In addition to preventing discrimination, the ordinance requires landlords to allow community-based organizations to bail out renters on the verge of being evicted, so long as the money is received within five days.
It also outlaws the preferred employer programs many landlords have been offering in Seattle. Some landlords had launched promotions to waive fees or cut costs for people working at certain companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing. These actions were determined to violate anti-discrimination rules.
The new ordinance is one of 65 recommendations made last year by Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory committee.