Washington ruling raises questions about tenant protection proposal
A recent ruling by a King County King County Superior Court judge in Washington is raising questions about the legality of the next tenant protection proposal being considered by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
As first reported by Willamette Week, Eudaly is working on a measure to require landlords to rent to tenants on a first come, first served basis. It is intended prevent landlords from refusing to rent to someone for subjective reasons that have nothing to do with the tenant's qualifications.
However, a similar ordinance in Seattle was declared unconstitutional by King County King County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Parisien on March 28.
As reported by the Seattle Times, "Seattle's law requiring landlords to choose among qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis violates the state constitution."
In her ruling, Parisien said that choosing a tenant "is a fundamental attribute of property ownership."
The Seattle City Council adopted its ordinance in 2016.
Jamey Duhamel, Eudaly's policy advisor working on the proposal, says they are aware of the ruling.
"While Oregon's interpretation of the constitutional takings law is different, there is some concern that it sets a precedent here that is challenging," Duhamel told the Portland Tribune.
Duhamel said that alternatives will be discussed during a series of workshops planned on the proposal in May.
"We are currently workshopping alternatives to first come first serve that may accomplish the same goals, but in reality many landlords do this now anyway as best practice. We will see if something else arises," Duhamel said.
Eudlay successfully pushes a number of tenant protections through the City Council during her first year in office, including requiring landlords to pay relocation costs for teants subject to no-cause evictions.
You can read the Seattle Times article at tinyurl.com/ydbzukm5.