Source of Income – Housing Protections
Access to housing affordability and tenant displacement concerns continue to drive policy at the state and local level. To this end, policymakers are considering proposals to make "source of income" a protected characteristic under state and local fair housing laws. Such laws are intended primarily to prohibit discrimination against individuals who receive housing subsidies and essentially mandate that housing providers participate in the Section 8 Voucher Program.
As an Owner or Operator, How Does this Affect My Business?
The Section 8 Voucher Program and local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) who administer it require property owners and operators to adhere to additional regulatory requirements, which are otherwise not imposed in a standard apartment leasing transaction.
These requirements may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Prescribed tenancy approval process.
- Use of the local PHA’s model lease or review and approval owner’s preferred lease.
- Execution of a “tenancy addendum.”
- Required Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract with the PHA and compliance with added lease terms and administrative responsibilities.
- Potential change in the amount of housing assistance without warning or delay in payment.
- Rents subject to “reasonableness” requirements and limits on rent increases, subject to approval by the PHA.
- Required inspection prior to move in and annually to determine whether the housing meets HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
- Mandated termination policies and procedures including strict limits on when an owner may evict a resident and for what reason.
- Additional time to coordinate with the PHA and ensure compliance with the program’s stringent requirements.