Seattle, WA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington

Q: I have a tenant on housing. Kid is violent felon she wants to add. I haven't signed housing contract. What's my options

So she sign my basic lease for x amount of $ per month. She can not afford it without housing. I haven't signed the HAP contract with housing yet. Can I simple have her sign an agreement to vacate due to her not being able to afford the house with me not signing the HAP contract. Am I discriminating against her or this violent felon who is doing time for drive by shooting and robbery. When he is released I do not want him in or around my home bringing his lil gangbanging buddies with him. I like my neighbors.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In your situation, it's crucial to handle the matter with a focus on legality and fairness. Since you haven’t signed the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract yet, you are not currently bound by its terms, which generally include non-discrimination clauses. You have the right to assess any potential tenant based on financial qualifications, which are legitimately affected by her ability to afford the rent without housing assistance.

Regarding adding the tenant's son to the lease, you can set terms that align with maintaining a safe and peaceful environment for all tenants and neighbors. It's reasonable to express concerns about safety due to past behaviors and potential future risks associated with the individual's criminal history. However, you must ensure that any decisions avoid discriminatory practices based on protected characteristics under fair housing laws.

If you decide not to move forward with the HAP contract, you could consider offering the tenant a chance to vacate voluntarily if she can't afford the rent without the assistance, or you might suggest she finds a co-signer or another form of guarantee. It’s important to communicate clearly and maintain documentation of all interactions and decisions. Consulting with a legal advisor to navigate this situation can provide guidance tailored to your state’s laws and ensure that your actions remain compliant with all applicable regulations.

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