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Kirkland, Washington lawmakers this week passed an ordinance prohibiting landlords there from turning away applicants who rely on Section 8 vouchers.

The measure does not prohibit choice among tenant applicants based on other factors.

According to a news report, the 4-3 vote this week came after city council members expressed concern over discrimination against those receiving government subsidies. Several voucher holders said they’d been turned away because the landlord did not accept vouchers.

Landlords expressed concern over the government bureaucracy that accompanies Section 8 vouchers, including inspections, restrictions on evictions and problems with collecting for damage done to a rental unit.

Opponents criticized similar plans for being ineffective in increasing the availability of affordable housing, according to the report. Some fear additional rental regulations may lead to a decrease in rental housing as frustrated property owners sell and invest elsewhere.

A number of other cities and states have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on source of income; however, many make exceptions for Section 8 vouchers because of the requirements placed on landlords participating in the program. At the federal level, HUD has taken steps to encourage voluntary participation in the program, rather than pressing for landlord mandates.

In Oregon, which has a statewide ban on source of income discrimination but makes an exception for Section 8, lawmakers are currently debating legislation that would include Section 8 vouchers in the definition of source of income. According to the report, 13 states and 39 cities and counties now prohibit landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers.

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  • Mary Phillips

    I think all Owners/Landlords shoud be accepting Section 8, for the following reasons: 1. The Hap payment is a guarenteed payment for the Property Owner, 2. The way the ecomony is now there are going to be more families needing help and if the funds are availabe so would you rather have a rental at $750.00 and have to go into an expensive court battle to get the family out and take the flack for evicting a family due to hard time (OR) accept the section 8 and the family be able to afford their share and you keep it occupied longer? I have a senior property that is all section 8, due to their low incomes I have all 58 units vacant if we chose not to take their vouchers. YES, I have delt with family property that accepts section 8 and YES I have also delt with the damages by those who simply don’t care what they destroy. But as they say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover so not everyone on Section 8 is a bad person, overall I have had really great residents that are just very thankful for the help.

  • cranky landlord

    Section 8 never pays enough to cover regular market rents in the “better” areas. That’s why landlords don’t accept it. Can local government force you to accept less than market rents? Sure, look at rent control.

    Nice move jerkwad liberals on this one.

  • STEPHEN KENT

    SECTION 8 HAS TWO DRAW BACKS 1) THE HOUSING AUTHORITY WILL GENERALLY SIDE WITH THE TENENT IN ANY DISPUTE, AND 2) IN GENERAL THE SECTION 8 TENENTS ARE VERY NEEDY. THEY ATTEMPT TO MAKE THEIR PROBLEMS YOUR PROBLEMS. IF IT REQUIRES LYING OR STREATCHING THE FACTS TO THEIR FAVOR, THEY WILL. THEY CAN MAKE A LANDLORDS LIFE UNBARRABLE. THEIR SECTION 8 REPS. CAN NOT CO ORDINATE ANY DISPUTE, FORCING LAND LORDS TO GO OVER THEIR HEADS TO A DIRECTORS POSITION. OTHER THAN THOSE TWO PROBLEMS, YES THE PAYMENTS ARE GUARANTEED.

  • Jean

    How about the simple fact that some of us small landlords are just plain tired of government intervention in our lives? At least I can refuse this one small intrusion and I will.

  • Steven

    I dipped into this once they lied from start to finish. The biggest problem is that we have many Landlords who are enablers. ‘One told me no matter how many Aunts and Uncles live there they still end up paying a late fee.” In my case they said they were both entitled to Section 8. After going thru the beaurocracy I soon found only she was entitled to Section 8 and that she was on Welfare. Since she had a boyfriend making $20/hr living with her that constituted Welfare fraud. My only regret is that I didn’t turn her in.

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