OLYMPIA - When families and individuals pay for applications for rental housing, they will have the right to know what the screening process seeks, what that screening finds and who reports the findings to potential landlords under the Fair Tenant Screening Act (Senate Bill 6315).
The bill was passed on Monday by the Washington State House of Representatives on an 81-16 vote having earlier passed the Senate on a 46-0 vote.
“This is a real issue for tenants, especially low-income tenants seeking to get into rental housing,” said Sen. David Frockt, the bill’s sponsor. “I am pleased we had such bipartisan support and that so many groups came together to create a bill that that will make it easier for people to find a home and maintain their good names.”
“Thanks to Sen. Frockt’s leadership, this bill represents a major step forward in fairness for tenants across the state,” said Nick Federici of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. “There is still a lot of work to do, but this bill starts the process.”
Under guidelines set by SB 6315, landlords accepting application payments from prospective renters must disclose what types of information will be included in the final reports, the types of blemishes that may result in the denial of the application and the name and address of the screening agency so that the applicant can make corrections to erroneous information. Frockt said the bill represents a compromise between tenant and landlord groups, which will continue to meet to deal with concerns as they arise.
“This bill is a good start,” said Frockt. “It doesn’t resolve all the issues, so to keep up with the evolution of issues including portability, cost and content, we will have a stakeholder group which will meet in the interim to make necessary adjustments.”
“We are thrilled that the Fair Tenant Screening Act has passed and thank Sen. Frockt for his leadership,” said Michele Thomas, director of Policy and Advocacy for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. “This marks a very important step forward and the most significant progress made on this important issue.”
Having passed the House without amendment, SB 6315 now goes to the governor to be signed into law.
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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7535
For interviews: Sen. David Frockt, 360-786-7690