Prohibits a landlord from refusing to lease or rent real property to an applicant or expelling a tenant from real property based on the source of income of an otherwise eligible applicant or tenant.
The bill was heard, amended and passed in Senate Ways and Means and sent to Rules. It was pulled in Rules and passed on third reading on the Senate; yeas, 33; nays, 14; absent, 0; excused, 2. On 2/13, first reading in the House; referred to Judiciary but not yet scheduled for a hearing. Given the 23rd is the opposite house policy committee cut-off, and the Judiciary committee is not scheduled to meet again prior to cut-off, the bill is likely dead. Please note, a very similar bill is moving through the Senate (HB2578) and is currently in Rules. (updated 2/22)
As amended in the Senate Financial Institution & Insurance committee, the bill requires a landlord to pay for the value of one month's worth of rent before being eligible for matching funds from the landlord mitigation program account for required repairs from an inspection.
As amended in Senate Ways & Means, the substitute bill reduces the amount of improvements a landlord must perform due to an inspection from one month’s rent plus $5,000 to $500 plus $1,000 from the landlord mitigation account. Allows a landlord to not rent property if repairs required from an inspection exceed $1,500 or funding for repairs is not available from the landlord mitigation account. Provides for civil penalties for violations for four and one-half times the monthly rent, rather than up to four times the monthly rent. Specifies the process for applying for reimbursement for damage claims and grants rule-making authority to the Department of Commerce to administer the program. The substitute also provides flexibility for violations of source of income discrimination up to four and one-half times the monthly rent.
Amendments on the Senate floor clarify that the landlord mitigation program at the Department of Commerce may provide funding for claims submitted by landlords for renting private market rental units to low-income tenants using a qualified source of income. Low-income tenants are defined as income not exceeding 80% of median income. The Department of Commerce may use a third party inspector as needed to investigate fraud to assist in making claim reviews and determining eligibility.