Tenants: New Legal Protection from Discrimination Based on Source of Income
Publication Provided by: Northwest Justice Project – June 2018
What does “source of income” mean?
Federal, state, and local public benefits, such as Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, retirement, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD)
Rent subsidies from federal, state or local housing programs, such as the Section 8 voucher program, Share Aspire or Housing and Essential Needs (HEN)
- Short-term rental assistance, for example from organizations like Catholic Community Services or Lutheran Community Services
I am looking for a place to rent. How does the new law protect me?
Refuse to rent to you because of the source of your income.
Cannot charge you more rent than someone who does not get benefits.
Tell you the unit is not available when it is.
Advertise a property for rent only for tenants with certain types of income.
I am already renting a place. I just started getting public benefits. Does the new law protect me?
End your lease or evict you just because you now get benefits.
Treat you differently than any tenant who does not get benefits, just because you are now getting benefits.
Does the new law apply to all landlords?
Farmworkers living in employer-provided housing
People getting housing in exchange for work
People living in hotels or motels
Can a landlord still turn down my application for other reasons?
The property must pass inspection for you to keep your rental assistance.
It will cost more than $1,500 to make sure the property will pass that inspection.
The landlord cannot get the money to make the improvements.
*Tenant Screening: Your Rights has more about your rights when applying for a rental.
I have a section 8 voucher. I am applying for an apartment after September 30, 2018. The landlord requires me to have income two or three times more than the rent amount. Does the landlord count just my portion of the rent?
Example: Jane applies for a unit renting for $1,000/month. Jane’s Section 8 Voucher will cover $600 of the rent. The landlord requires all tenants to have a monthly income that is twice the rent amount. Before, Jane’s income would have to be $2,000 to qualify for the apartment. Under the new law, the landlord must subtract the voucher amount ($600) from the total rent ($1,000) before calculating if Jane’s income is enough. In this case, Jane’s portion of the rent is $400. So 2x Jane’s portion of rent = $800. Jane’s monthly income only needs to be $800 to qualify.
I think the landlord denied my rental application because of my income. What can I do?
Can I get legal help?
Where can I read the law?
This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.