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Can Landlords Ban Guns In Rental Units in Washington?

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Rogelio V. Solis
/
AP Photo

Can landlords prohibit firearms in their rental properties? It's an issue that has come up recently following the deadly shooting in Tacoma of a police officer. The owner of the home that the suspect, who was killed by police after a standoff, was renting said she was unaware that he had firearms. Everett landlord-tenant attorney Rob Trickler, who is also president of Washington Rental Owners Association, says there’s nothing to prevent someone from writing a “no guns” policy into a rental agreement in Washington state.

“It’s not uncommon for a landlords to have a specific set of rules for their properties,” Trickler said.

And, he says unlike say a “no child” policy, it wouldn’t violate anti -discrimination laws.  He points out it isn't something covered by the Second Amendment either.

However, Trickler says, there are reasons landlords might be reluctant to ban guns. He says to enforce it, a landlord would have to do get the renter to agree to regular inspections  of the unit for firearms.

“And I suspect that any tenant would object to that, potentially feeling like that makes them a second ranked citizen or something,” he said.

Trickler says, in Washington, it’s actually pets, not guns, that landlords and tenants are more likely to have disagreements over.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.
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