Why Is It Legal for Landlords to Refuse Section 8 Renters?, Kriston Capps, CityLab, December 13, 2018, available here
This week, the San Jose City Council asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would compel landlords to consider tenants who accept federal aid in the form of Housing Choice Vouchers, the program commonly known as Section 8. Baltimore’s city council is looking to pass a similar law. In these cities and in much of the nation, landlords are currently free to disregard or screen tenants merely on the basis of receiving assistance.
Even in areas with protections in place, equal treatment is far from a given. From city to city, a patchwork of policies influences how landlords look at Section 8 voucher holders—either as renters with federally guaranteed rent or red-flagged liabilities. Their attitudes can cement housing patterns at a broad scale. New research about landlords and renters points to tendencies that drive segregation by race and poverty. Unfortunately, these biases are hard to uproot—but some places are having an easier time of it than others.