This bill did pass in 2012, however many items were taken out at the last minute and it is now seen as the first installment of a longer process. The version of the bill that did pass instituted more transparent information around credit screenings and who performs them. The focus this year is on 1) appropriate record sealing and 2) rental application costs.
As it stands now, an eviction, even if won in court, is revealed in rental screenings, placing the applicant at a disadvantage. This Act has direct implications for survivors of domestic violence, among many others. A domestic violence survivor may break a lease in accordance with the law to flee an abuser, but is still sued in eviction court for not fulfilling the terms of the lease. This survivor may be denied housing repeatedly in the future because of this record. By sealing specific records, such as unwarranted evictions, applicants are less likely to face bias during the rental application process. California has already enacted a similar law.
Why Firesteel Advocates for the passage of the Fair Tenant Screening Act
This bill seeks to prevent homelessness and many of our YWCA clients face barriers in securing housing due to rental application processes. For those YWCAs that provide domestic violence services and housing, this bill may directly impact our clients and provides a powerful education/awareness opportunity.
What Can You Do?
1) Talk about it! Social media is a great place to spread the word about this important policy area. If you tweet, use the hashtag #FTSA2013. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance has great info on how to advocate on both Twitter and Facebook
2) Register on Firesteel website (if you haven’t yet!). That you the website will be tailored to you and you will be matched to your legislators. We’ll then be able to send you messages specific to your voting district!
3) Attend the Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on 2/11/13. Register
4) Contact your legislator (by phone or email) and tell them that it is important to remove barriers to housing and prevent homelessness by passing the Fair Tenant Screening Act.
This article originally appeared on firesteelwa