Bill would require landlords to consider Section 8 applicants

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A state senator introduced a bill this week that would require landlords to consider prospective tenants who use Section 8.

The bill, SB 329 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, would make it illegal to deny a tenancy based on the applicant’s participation in the federal Housing Choice voucher program.

Sen. Holly Mitchell

Under current law, it is illegal to discriminate against a prospective tenant based on the applicant’s source of income. At present, however, Section 8 housing vouchers do not legally meet the source-of-income standard. SB 329 would change that by expanding the definition of source of income to include housing subsidies paid by the government directly to landlords.

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  • More government regulation leads to higher operating costs for the small, individual property owner. I would find the pending legislation more fair if it were limited to projects over a given size; e.g. making the legislation applicable to projects over 100 units. For projects of less than 20 units, there are not enough units to easily spread the increased operating cost over, thereby creating a greater impact to the owner. This likely would have an increased negative impact on tenants as well via increased rents or decreased upkeep, maintenance, improvements, etc. I expect this bill could have a negative impact on new units coming online as well, especially in-fill units.

  • How detailed is this bill? If potential tenants need to qualify at 3times the rent, how would the Section 8 portion be attributed? Example a tenant renting at $800.00 per month. Tenants would need qualifying income of $2,400. Section 8 pays 400.00 (considering this as income), thus leaving the tenant to qualify additional income at $2,000. Is the bill going to force qualifications as well?

  • Well I hope this is killed…

    As a landlord… I resent government taking over my property. If I don’t want to participate in that program why should I…?

    How about they pass some laws stopping some of the CEQA laws that slow down new housing….

  • My company for years accepted Section 8. We felt it was important that tenants using that program had access to quality properties. But then there was a change. Instead of the ‘Worker’ doing the inspections, they created a job title of inspectors. These Inspectors felt it was their duty to find at least SOMETHING wrong with any property. It got so petty, and our Owners were losing a week or two before repairs could be done and another inspection scheduled, we changed our policy and quit accepting Section 8.

  • This sort of legislation makes no sense at all, because the Section 8 income stream is no longer guaranteed.
    All it takes is a two-month government shutdown, and the money stops.

  • stop this idiot bill from becoming a law..i do not like section 8 clients and their attitudes..they have no skin in the game, so they have no interest in maintaining the investment property to the same level as when they first were allowed to rent

    stop this idiotic senator who has no interest in us as investors and landlords..she should get voted out of office

  • I no longer accept Sec. 8, not because of the tenant, but because HUD is too difficult to work with. I lost a month’s rent on a tenant that took his time moving. His holding over on the previous landlord made HUD obligated to send my first month’s rent to the other landlord without any recourse against the tenant. There are also too many hoops to jump through to get rent increases or addendums approved on their inadequate leases and they do everything at half speed. If the tenant causes a problem, they are the 3rd wheel that slows and complicates any action. The incompetency in D.C. seals the deal for me. If the govt. is shut down on another whim, we may not get paid at all. What would our eviction rights be in that case? Are our creditors going to give us a free pass? I think not. For me, it’s not worth the hassle or the potential losses.

  • Thanks for your comment. As to your question, the following response comes from our public affairs team: “The bill does not interfere with an owner’s ability to set an income standard. Of course, any income standard set by the owner would have to be consistently applied to all applicants.”

  • If the government wants owners to consider Section 8 vouchers, then it needs to do the following: 1) streamline the application and inspection process so that it is easy for owners to understand and complete within 1 day; 2) inspections need to be done within 3 business days of application completion; 4) guarantee on-time payments to owners under any circumstances, including a government shutdown; 5) exempt owners from the process if inspection determines that the cost for updating or repairs exceeds reasonable amount of money (e.g., $1000). Small owners, such as those who own a condo or single-family home, or a small complex, such as a 4-plex, should be exempt from this.