LA Moves Forward On Plan To Ban Landlords From Rejecting Section 8 Tenants

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Landlords in Los Angeles would not be allowed to reject potential tenants with Section 8 vouchers under a plan moved forward Wednesday by the city council.

Under the ordinance, recipients of government housing vouchers would be protected against “source-of-income” discrimination from landlords who are reluctant to rent to such tenants.

The council on a 12-0 vote asked the city attorney to draft the ordinance, which if ultimately approved, would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

According to the motion filed in May of 2018 by Councilman Paul Krekorian, there are hundreds of Section 8 voucher holders in L.A. who are unable to rent apartments because of a “stigma associated with Section 8 among landlords.”

Section 8 is a federal program which helps low-income renters obtain housing. Under the program, the family pays a portion of the rent to the landlord and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pays the remainder.

According to a city report released last week, research conducted by the Urban Institute found that people who use federal vouchers to help pay for their rent are denied housing by landlords at rates, but were substantially less in cities that have passed laws protecting people who receive such federal housing vouchers.

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

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

Rents in L.A. are among the highest in the nation. Last month, the Inglewood City Council passed an emergency ordinance which temporarily puts a cap on how much landlords can increase rent on their tenants in older buildings.

In November 2018, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a similar temporary ordinance which limits rent hikes to 3 percent per year on certain apartments in unincorporated areas. The ordinance will be in effect for six months. The board can either vote to extend it or replace it with a permanent one.

It’s similar to the city of L.A.’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which also allows landlords to increase rent by only 3 percent every year for rent-controlled units built before 1979.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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