Questions a Seattle Property Manager Can and Cannot Ask
Hopefully, your renting experience in an apartment is one that offers you an enjoyable and agreeable time spent living in Seattle, but it never hurts to know your rights when it comes to what a property manager can ask you, and what’s off limits. As a tenant or a prospective tenant, you have many rights that are designed to protect you.
Here are some considerations you may want to think about as you begin your search for a Seattle apartment.
Questions About Disabilities are Usually Off-Limits
While there may be some questions that a business owner can ask an individual with a disability to help accommodate the needs of the disabled individual, there are several questions that a property owner, manager, or representative cannot ask a prospective tenant.
Some of those questions include:
- How did you become disabled?
- Why are you getting SSI?
- Can I see your medical records?
- Have you ever been in drug or alcohol rehab?
The Seattle government has created a comprehensive document with further details about disability rights, as well as information on topics for families with children, protected classes like the elderly and Section 8 renters.
Educate Yourself About Your Rights as a Tenant
There are several resources available to you as a renter that you can use to protect yourself in the event you interact with an unscrupulous landlord. For example, the Tenants Union of Washington State shares information about the laws put in place by the state to protect renters, as well as landlords.
For example, one rule of which you may not be aware is one that protects you in the event your landlord isn’t a resident of Washington, and you deem it necessary to engage in a lawsuit or make a claim in civil court.
Information Your Previous Landlord Can Share
You may find it beneficial to understand what your previous landlord can tell your potential, future landlord about your residency in a previous apartment. Your employer may also be able to share information about you with a prospective landlord or property managers.
A real estate agent working out of Chicago shares on Trulia that landlords may find the best course of action contacting a prospective tenant’s previous landlord or employer for information.
“With respect to personal references, they are not very effective in producing any valuable knowledge that you, as a landlord, can use in your decision-making process. You probably should not even ask for personal references in the first place. No one will list someone as a reference that has anything bad to say about them.”
Is it legal for a landlord to speak with your employer? Property owners do have the right to investigate a prospective tenant’s background, and they can ask some questions about your employment history or experience in another apartment community. You should be prepared to have any landlord references you provide in your application share information about your rent amount, the length of your residency, and whether you paid your rent on time.
The Tenants Union shares:
“Washington State has “long arm” jurisdiction over out-of-state property owners (RCW 59.18.060). Landlords who live out of state still have all the same obligations under the Landlord-Tenant Act. If they violate one of the provisions that describe the duties of landlords, they are deemed to have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of Washington State courts.”
Make a New Home in Seattle at Muriel’s Landing
Are you searching for a new home in the Seattle area? Would you like to live close to everything the vibrant city of Seattle has to offer while also residing in a modern building with some of the best views of the Pacific Northwest? Contact one of our leasing agents today to set up a visit and a tour of our Seattle apartment community.