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Capitol Hill, CD property owners cited for fair housing violations

A property owner on Capitol Hill and another in the Central District were among 23 owners recently cited for violating Seattle’s fair housing law.

Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights has filed “directors charges” against owners at 23 properties after testing revealed alleged discriminatory practices against prospective renters based on familial status, disability, and use of a federal Section 8 voucher.

Test sites were selected at random and conducted by email and phone by the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance in Spokane. The specific citations for individual properties were not immediately available.

Owners of Langston Manor at 424 19th Ave E and a 4-plex apartment at 718 21st Ave were among those cited for fair housing violations. The 19th and Republican apartment complex is owned by Langston Manor, LLC and managed by Northwest Apartments. A representative for the management company said they had not yet been notified of the violation.

The 21st and Columbia property is owned by Xiaonan Song and Xiaobing Zhu. Hanneman Family Properties, LLC was also cited for violating the fair housing law at building in Eastlake, located at 2020 Minor Ave E.

“These test results are not isolated incidents – they demonstrate patterns of behavior that have profound impacts on people’s lives,” said SOCR director Patricia Lally. The SOCR constructors conducted 97 tests and found a troubling number of violations:

  • Familial status (32 tests): 2 charges / 31% of all tests showed evidence of different treatment.
  • Disability (33 tests): 6 charges / 64% of all tests showed evidence of different treatment.
  • Section 8 voucher (32 tests): 13 charges / 63% of all tests showed evidence of different treatment.

SOCR also field two additional charges for discrimination based on marital status and national origin.

In the familial status test, some property owners gave less information to testers who said they had children than those who said they did not. One manager advertised for “professional tenants only.” Testers also found landlords advertising for maximum occupancies below the true limits.

In the disability tests, some property owners refused to allow service dogs while other repeatedly hung up on testers calling from the Washington State relay service. Some landlords illegally rejected applicants who mentioned using Section 8 vouchers.

Last year two Capitol Hill-area apartment buildings were among 13 in Seattle given “director’s charges” by the city alleging rental housing discrimination following random inspections last year. Overall, 64% of tests for “Race” discrimination “showed evidence of different treatment” and 63% of “Sexual orientation” tests also resulted in unfair treatment.

For more information on Seattle’s fair housing law, visit SOCR’s website.

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