Same-Sex Couples and Rental Properties in the State of Washington

Posted by Matthew Lahti on Saturday, September 28th, 2013 at 12:23am

Washington's Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), which was enacted on June 8, 2006, protects same-sex couples from discrimination in real estate rentals. Violations of this law can be subject to a lawsuit seeking payment for damages and reported to the Washington State Human Rights Commission. If you're renting to a same-sex couple, the basic rule is to treat them in the same way as any opposite-sex couple.

For example, if an unmarried couple applies for your rental, it's within your rights to verify the income levels of both individuals to ensure that they have enough to afford the rent. This can apply to opposite-sex or same-sex couples. You can treat all such couples as roommates and require that both be employed. You may deny renting to unmarried couples because that category is not protected under federal or state law. However, you cannot apply different rules simply because the unmarried pair is straight or gay.

Washington State has also allowed same-sex marriage since December 6, 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court also sanctioned such unions in their decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. So, you must treat all married couples equally. If you allow a married opposite-sex couple to rent if only one of the pair is employed, then the same rule applies to a married gay couple.

You can avoid all these issues by hiring us to be your rental management company. We will ensure strict compliance with the law while filling your properties with tenants who pay their rents on time and take care their residences. Contact us for more information.

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