Legal Information

Know Your Landlord and Tenant Rights

Link to the Washington State website to read the Residential Landlord – Tenant Act.

Link here for more information regarding Fair Housing and how to contact the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

When it comes to buying, selling or leasing a home or renting an apartment, several state and federal laws were enacted to ensure the equal opportunity in housing for all people. The Civil Rights Act of 1966 prohibits all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property.

The Federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act (42 U.S. Code §§ 3601-3619, 3631) prohibit landlords from choosing tenants on the basis of a group characteristic such as:

  • race
  • religion
  • ethnic background or national origin
  • sex
  • familial status, which is the fact that the prospective tenant has children (except in certain designated senior housing)
  • a mental or physical disability

In addition, some state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s marital status, age or sexual orientation.
On the other hand, landlords are allowed to select tenants using criteria that are based on valid business reasons, such as requiring a minimum income or positive references from previous landlords, as long as these standards are applied equally to all tenants.