@Matt Shields IMO anyone who makes or changes land lording laws should have to own real estate rentals especially in a c or d area. The laws would change in a New York minute in favor of the landlords if this was the case. They have to walk a day in our shoes and the laws would change quickly.
With that being said you have to adapt and change as the laws do to be successful and I am confident the successful landlords will find other ways to scrutinize the process and make it harder for folks to be approved.
There is a very simple go around to the law. You run the criminal background check to confirm if a applicant is a sex offender.
Bottom line is you still have the ability to reject any applicant you choose for personal reasons even if it is their appearance, attitude smell etc. The fact that you find out they are a convicted drug dealer is irrelevant since you will not be using that as a reason to reject.
Take care to protect your business interests above all else or get out of the business in Seattle and other anti landlord jurisdictions..
If you run a background check and they are a felon but not a sex offender, I think you would open to an $11,000 fine if you did not rent to them. I see a day coming in some cities where landlords will be prevented from asking prospective tenants anything. Landlords will have to raise rents to cover evictions/damage or convert their property owner occupied and sell them. This will contribute to already lacking affordable housing in Seatle.