County Council approves expanding housing opportunities

Protecting renters and homebuyers using Social Security, housing subsidies to pay rent

From a press release:

How you pay for your home should not prevent you from having a place to live. The Metropolitan King County Council on Monday unanimously adopted legislation prohibiting landlords or home sellers from denying people housing based on how they would pay for the unit.

“For many in our communities, stable housing is a ticket out of generational poverty,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the ordinance. “I’m very pleased to have sponsored this ordinance, the passage of which this month was especially fitting as it reflects the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act. With that in mind, it’s important to recognize how far we have come but remember how much we still have left to do to ensure all people are treated fairly as they seek access to housing.”

The adopted legislation extends the list of protections that are already part of the Open Housing chapter of the King County Code. Landlords and home sellers in unincorporated King County—where the County has land use regulatory authority—will be prohibited from denying housing for potential tenants who have a verifiable alternative source of income, such as Social Security. The legislation also includes housing subsidies including Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers, state Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) funds, or rapid rehousing assistance.

King County joins the cities of Bellevue, Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, and Seattle in adopting housing policies that prevent discrimination against people using these types of alternative income sources.

The County Code already prevents landlords and home sellers from denying housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, gender, marital status, parental status, participation in the Section 8 program, sexual orientation, disability, or use of a service or assistive animal by an individual with a disability.

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