Source of Income Discrimination (H.R. 8213, S. 4435)

U.S. Senate bill: S. 4435, introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) — Fair Housing Improvement Act

Committees:

Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Status:

The bill has not yet been considered.

U.S. House bill: H.R. 8213, introduced by Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-52) — Fair Housing Improvement Act

Committees:

House Committee on Financial Services

Status:

The bill has not yet been formally considered.

Impact

As noted by our friends at the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “rental assistance can improve health and educational outcomes, increase children’s chances of long-term success and increase racial equity. Too often, however, landlords discriminate against households receiving rental assistance, leaving these households with few options for where to live.

Research shows landlords deny housing to households with federal rental assistance, particularly in markets without source of income protections. While several states and localities have passed source of income protection laws, federal law does not prohibit type of discrimination. As a result, only 1 in 3 households with a voucher are protected by non-discrimination laws. By expanding this protection to renters nationwide, the bill will make it easier for households receiving federal housing assistance, including veterans, to live in communities of their choice.”

Summary

Senator Kaine’s office said in a press release:

“Current law allows landlords to deny housing to individuals based on source of income, and many veterans and low-income families have reported discrimination when using vouchers to pay their rent. The Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2022 would expand protections under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to include banning discrimination based on source of income, giving more individuals and families access to affordable housing and a shot at economic mobility. When Kaine first introduced this legislation in 2018, landlords in Virginia could deny housing based on how individuals pay rent. Virginia has since enacted legislation in July 2020 to prohibit discrimination based on source of income, and Kaine wants to expand that progress nationwide.

“The federal government provides vouchers to help 2.3 million veterans and low-income households live in decent, stable private market housing. Landlords, however, can reject these vouchers in states and cities where there are no source of income protections. Fair housing complaints have remained steady, with nearly 29,000 complaints in 2020. People of color, particularly Black women, are disproportionately impacted and more likely than any other group to be evicted or denied housing…

“The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2022 would add source of income and veteran status to the list of protected classes. It would prohibit landlords from denying housing to individuals who use Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, benefits received through Social Security, income received by a court order, payment from a trust or guardian, or any other lawful source of income.”

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