Rules and Regulations

Seattle’s First In Time rental law found constitutional

legal scale seattle first in time rental law

On Thursday November 14, 2019 the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Seattle’s First In Time rental law conforms to the state constitution.   The law was passed in 2016 but has not been enforced pending legal challenges.  While Pacific Legal Foundation (a nonprofit) has indicated that it will appeal the case to the US Supreme Court, landlords in Seattle would be wise to get educated on the implications of the law and begin complying immediately.  

New Law Overview

Broadly, the legislation requires landlords to do the following:

  • Post specific criteria that will be used in tenant selection whenever and wherever they advertise an open unit.  
  • Accept the first applicant who meets these criteria.  
  • Document the time and date an application is received.
  • Grant additional time to complete the application upon request, to individuals who need it due to English language limitations or disabilities.

Know the law and how to comply

We have compiled resources we believe to be helpful in learning about the law and how to comply with it:

Next Steps

Critically important in navigating Seattle’s First In Time rental law is the development of a screening criteria checklist. Read more about that and get a sample checklist here.

Legal Help

When in doubt, consult a legal professional. RocketLawyer is one good resource, offering the advice of staff attorneys as well as forms such as leases and eviction notices.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.

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About Eli Secor

Eli purchased his first rental property at the age of 20, a fourplex in Gold Canyon, Arizona. He was lucky to have the advice of a shrewd real estate investing grandmother, as well as special incentives for first time buyers following the savings and loan meltdown in the late ‘80’s.

In 2004 Eli and his wife purchased their first property together, a triplex in Portland, Oregon. The neighborhood was improving, light rail was coming in, and the property needed a significant rehab. They traveled back and forth from their then home in California, improving and managing the property. Eli did a full remodel on the biggest unit, living in the construction zone while doing so. The property has been cashflow positive since day one, and is now worth 3-4 times its original purchase price.

Eli has been involved in residential construction since 2001, having remodeled several houses from top to bottom, rehabbed or improved rental units, and built his family’s primary residence. He leverages his knowledge of buildings to improve and maintain rental properties cost and time-effectively.

Since 2007 Eli has been managing property in Seattle for family members, and now oversees 20 apartments and 3 commercial spaces. He has a great handyman, who helps make repairs, maintenance, and improvement smooth and easy. Otherwise Eli is a DIY landlord, and single contact for all of his tenants.

When Eli isn’t managing rental property he is working on home projects, sailing, mountain biking, skiing, or spending time with friends and family. Once or twice a week Chris and Eli get together to run their dogs, Lola & Peanut. These meetings do double duty as Landlord Gurus planning sessions!

Credentials:
- BA in History from Whitman College
- General Contractor (Ex)
- USCG Licensed Captain (UOPV Six-Pack)

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