My landlord is discriminating against me

Read this to learn what your options are. #6324EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, you should read this if you are renting the place where you live in Washington state (if you are a tenant).

All tenants have the right to be free from discrimination in housing. You will learn

  • what illegal "discrimination" is under the law.

  • what to do if you believe your landlord is discriminating against you.

  • where to find legal help.

It defines illegal discrimination as treating you differently from other tenants or would-be tenants because of any of these:

  • Your race, color, or national origin

  • Your religion

  • Your sex

  • Your sexual orientation or gender identity

  • Your veteran or military status

  • Your disability or the landlord's belief that you have a disability (even if you don't)

  • Your marital status

  • Your family status (you have kids or are expecting a child)

Here are a few examples:

  • A landlord refuses to rent to you, or gives you higher move in costs, than another person. You have kids. The other person has no kids.

  • You apply for a rental in person or by making a phone call to ask about it. The landlord falsely tells you a rental unit is unavailable after finding out that you are gay.

  • A property manager promptly responds to repair requests made by "favorite tenants." They are white. The property manager ignores your requests. You are black.

  • You have a disability. The landlord refuses to give you a more accessible unit or parking space, even though it would not be an undue burden for the landlord to do this for you.

No. Landlords often treat tenants differently.

For example, a landlord may tell you that you must have a co-signer on the lease. The landlord did not tell other applicants this.

This kind of treatment may not be illegal if it is based on something like your credit score. It is illegal if it is based on your race or family status.

WA HRC Complaint

You can file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). You can call them at 1-800-233-3247.

Learn more and get a complaint form at

You must file your complaint with the WSHRC within 1 year of the date you believe you experienced discrimination.

US HUD Complaint

You can also file a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

Seattle Federal Office Building

909 First Avenue, Room 205

Seattle, WA 98104-1000

(206) 220-5170 or 1-800-877-0246

TTY (206) 220-5185

Learn more and get the complaint form at

Some city governments can also take this type of complaint.

For example, if you live in Seattle, you can file a complaint at the Seattle Office of Civil Rights at 206-684-4500 or


Can my landlord take revenge against me if I file a housing discrimination complaint?

Generally, no. This is probably illegal retaliation. Read Can My Landlord Do That?  to learn more.

Generally, no. This is probably illegal retaliation. Read Can My Landlord Do That?  to learn more.

Yes. You can ask the landlord for something like a change in the rules or a reasonable modification of your rental unit. Read  "How to request a disability accommodation as a tenant" to learn more.

You can read Washington's Law Against Discrimination (WA LAD) at RCW 49.60.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Nov 28, 2023
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