LA City Council Calls for Ban on Section 8 Tenant Discrimination

April 17, 2019 - 4:08 pm
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LOS ANGELES -- Landlords in Los Angeles would be barred from rejecting potential tenants because they have Section 8 vouchers under a proposal backed by the City Council today.

The potential ordinance would protect against "source-of-income" discrimination. A city report found that many recipients of government housing vouchers have a hard time finding a landlord who will rent to them.

The report cited Urban Institute research finding that people who use federal vouchers to help pay for their rent are denied housing by landlords at startling rates. But the rates were substantially lower in cities that have passed laws protecting people who receive such federal housing vouchers, according to the report.

Nine California cities, including Berkeley, San Diego and Santa Monica, have such laws on the books.

According to the study, landlords denied renting to voucher recipients 76.4 percent of the time in Los Angeles.

The motion calling for the ordinance was introduced by Councilman Paul Krekorian. He wrote in the motion that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act already prohibits discrimination based on "source of income," but rental assistance, including Section 8 vouchers, is not considered an income source under FEHA.

The council on a 12-0 vote asked the city attorney to draft the ordinance, which will have to return for another vote. If ultimately approved, the ordinance would take effect Jan. 1.

--CNS