Ordinance Preventing Section 8 Discrimination Passes

A Renton, Washington manufactured home community. Credit: King County Housing Authority.

The Renton, Washington city council passed an emergency ordinance last night that prohibits property owners and managers from discriminating against current or potential tenants based on their participation in the Section 8 program.

The vote was unanimous and the ordinance takes effect immediately.

When a group of tenants who participate in Section 8 housing came to us two weeks ago with the predicament that they were being displaced, we were very concerned about their challenges and we felt it was critical to address the issue right away,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law.

Renton Mayor Denis Law. Official Photo.

We are very pleased that the Council passed the emergency ordinance that helps protect families under these circumstances.

According to the Renton Reporter, the mayor and city administrators held several meetings with housing advocates to better understand what the families need and determine the steps to take. City staff worked with the Renton Housing Authority, Tenants Union and Salvation Army to provide assistance and find solutions for the families impacted.

We have also taken steps to address the issues faced by the group of tenants who came to us initially,” Law said. “As a result many of the landlords have either withdrawn their renewal notices or are now allowing tenants to stay until the end of their leases.

Renton, WA City Council. Official Photo.

In addition to making it illegal for any property owner, manager, landlord or agent to refuse to rent to a person solely on the fact the person plans to pay a portion of the rent using Section 8 money, landlords are also prohibited from refusing to allow required health and safety inspections by the public housing authority, and must now provide written notice to explain why the unit is ineligible.

I want to say thank you for your compassionate care in passing the Section 8 voucher protection for families and individuals here in Renton,” said community advocate Dr. Linda Smith.

I especially appreciate the urgency you placed on this matter and the fact that you took immediate action to find a solution. This was a major success as it does eliminate undue stress from so many families and children lives who potentially faced sleeping on the streets.

The housing market throughout the region has shifted and caused hardships for families of all income levels,” said Law.

Cost of homes and rental rates are increasing throughout the region. Like other areas in Seattle and Bellevue, Renton is also becoming increasingly unaffordable. We need to find long term solutions for affordable housing.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, Congress passed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) in July, which allows Section 8 vouchers to be used for the purchase of manufactured homes. That story was covered here.  The state of Washington has experienced a surge in manufactured home sales, as was reported at the link here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

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