Legal update for WA state landlords

The Fair Tenant Screening Act – Washington SB 6315

On March 15, the Washington State legislature passed The Fair Tenant Screening Act (SB 6315), amending the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (Wash. Rev. Code § 59.18). The law imposes two new requirements on Washington landlords during the rental application process, and is effective June 7, 2012.

1. The Act requires landlords to disclose to renters the types of information that On-Site will research on them, along with what criteria may result on a denial of the application, all prior to running a background check or charging an application fee. On-Site is helping landlords to comply with this requirement by adding the following language to its online application form and its standard Washington application document.

  • “As part of your rental application process, On-Site will create a rental report that accesses up to three types of information about you: 1) credit/financial records; 2) court records; and 3) personal references. Any negative, misleading, or unverifiable information may result in the denial of your application.
  • In the event of a denial or other adverse action, you have a right to obtain a free copy of your rental report from On-Site, and to dispute the accuracy of any information appearing in it. You may contact On-Site Renter Relations by phone (877) 222-0384; fax (888) 774-0144; or mail at 307 Orchard City Dr., Ste. 110, Campbell, CA 95008. For more information, go to www.renterrelations.com.”

2. The Act requires landlords to provide a notice to renters when their applications are treated adversely. The notice must state whether the application was denied or approved with conditions, and then provide a reason for the adverse treatment. On-Site’s standard adverse action notice is already consistent with Washington’s new criteria. It is worth noting that while the model adverse action notice contained in the Act is static and fixed at five possible reasons for an adverse action, On-Site’s adverse action notice is dynamic and can list up to 19 that will be automatically displayed.

On-Site will have the pre-application notice disclosures in place before the effective date of this Act. For any clients who wish to include Washington’s static, model adverse action notice along with On-Site’s standard FCRA-compliant notice, please contact Client Services to have this form added to your account.