The Kirkland City Council passed a law Tuesday night prohibiting landlords from turning away would-be tenants who would pay rent with the help of government-subsidized Section 8 vouchers. The vote was 4-3.
For a landlord to turn away a tenant only because he or she receives a government rent voucher, City Councilmember Dave Asher said, “I think that’s wrong and I think it is our duty to say that’s wrong, just like King County has said that’s wrong and Redmond has said that’s wrong and Bellevue has said that’s wrong and Seattle has said that’s wrong.”
Councilmember Penny Sweet agreed that discriminating against voucher-holders is wrong, “but I don’t believe this is where local government should step in. To me this comes down to a pure property-rights issue.”
Kirkland considered adopting the ordinance at the request of A Regional Coalition for Housing, an affordable-housing partnership of 15 Eastside cities and King County. Redmond banned discrimination last year after an apartment complex told Section 8 renters their leases would not be renewed.