The Washington state superior court for King County recently struck down the city’s “First-in-Time” tenant law (Municipal Code § 14.08.050) in Yim v. City of Seattle. Under the law, landlords are required to establish screening criteria for tenants and offer tenancy to the first applicant meeting the criteria, regardless if they want to choose another applicant. It also restricts the language that can be used in their rental advertising. The court held that the law violated the Washington Constitution’s protections not only for property rights and due process, but also for free speech, stating that other less oppressive alternatives are available.
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