Last spring, Charmaine Crossley was excited to learn she would receive a Section 8 voucher to help her cover rent. However, when she texted her landlord’s son to give him the good news that she would be receiving rental assistance, he wrote back, “We do not accept Section 8 at this time.”
Crossley suspected that wasn’t right. She was correct.
She recently won a case against her landlord for discriminating based on where she got her rental income. Washington’s source-of-income statute went into effect in September 2018, so landlords have had more than a year to familiarize themselves with the law, which says they can’t treat prospective or current tenants differently or add conditions to their rent based on where their money comes from whether it’s Section 8, Social Security income or disability payments.
During Crossley’s text exchange with Bill Hibbs, the son of property owner Diana Main, she explained to him that there was a law preventing landlords from refusing to rent to tenants based on their rental-income source and sent him relevant links.
Afterward, he wrote, “I don’t want to give you the impression that we are refusing to rent to you based on the fact that you have qualified for Section 8 because that is not the case. I simply said we are not accepting Section 8 vouchers.”
Crossley involved Kate Dunphy, deputy director of the Tenants Union of Washington, sending her copies of the texts.