Washington State Making It Easier for Felons to Rent Apartments and Housing?

Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson is putting a stop to real estate advertising that discriminates against felons and others with criminal backgrounds. Felons, even with a non-violent convictions that are over 20 years old often have a very hard time finding an apartment to rent. It is not uncommon to see ads posted that prohibit felons from even applying as seen below.

Picture of Attorney General of Washington, Bob Ferguson.

The Attorney General’s office stated;

“Ferguson’s office alleges such policies violate state and federal discrimination laws as well as the Washington Consumer Protection Act. Each company has been ordered to pay about $5,000 apiece, change their policies, and require employees attend non-discrimination training. In court documents, these companies have settled with the state but without admitting fault.”

Source: The Portland Mercury

Picture of an ad for apartment prohibiting felons from applying in washington.

Over the past several months there has been a slew of discriminatory cases that have came across Bob Ferguson’s desk. As a result five large property management groups in Washington state have been fined. The amount of the fines have reached up to $5,000. In addition to the heavy fines all of the management companies have been ordered to change their policies and attended non-discrimination training.

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Our organization, Help For Felons specializes in assisting felons find apartmentsjobs and other necessities of life. While Attorney General Bob Ferguson has taken a step in the right direction we would like to like to see more action, in more states. Discriminating against felons is making america’s crime problems worse because it increases recidivism rates. While we do support landlords having the right to rent to who they want we would like to see factors like:

  • Time since conviction
  • Type of conviction
  • Number of felonies

Taken into account rather than making a blanket statement/policy that keeps the door closed on all felons. Many of America’s felons are non-violent and are wanting to get their life back on track after making a mistake in their past.

Felony Expungement – In a number of states it is possible to have your felony conviction either expunged or sealed. Imagine having your record swiped clean! Learn more here.