Working to transform the child welfare system.

Bills

HB 2578: Relating to preserving and expanding rental housing options for persons whose source of income is derived from or includes sources other than employment

A landlord may not discriminate, make any distinction, or restriction against a prospective or current tenant based on the source of income.

“Source of income” includes housing assistance, public assistance, emergency rental assistance, veterans benefits, social security, supplemental security income, retirement programs, and other programs administered by any federal, state, local, or non-profit entity.

“Source of income” does not include income derived in an illegal manner.

Creates the Landlord Mitigation Program account; expenditures from the account may only be used for the Landlord Mitigation Program to reimburse for the damages caused to private market rental units.

As amended by the Judiciary committee the following changes were made:

• Amends the exception to the prohibition on refusing to rent based on source of income, providing that a landlord may refuse to lease or rent based on source of income if the tenants’ source of income is conditioned on the real property passing inspection, the written estimate of the cost of improvements is more than $1500 (rather than at least $1500 more than the monthly rent of the real property), and the landlord has not received moneys from the landlord mitigation program account (account). 

• Lowers the amount that may be recovered from the account for improvements to $1000 from $5000, and provides that the landlord must contribute the first $500 (rather than contribute one-hundred percent of the first $1000 and match dollar for dollar any moneys received from the account). 

• Requires that the report from the Department of Commerce include an evaluation of the feasibility for expanding the use of the mitigation fund to provide up to 90- day no-interest loans to landlords who have not received timely rental payments from a housing authority that is administering Section 8 rental assistance.

Amendments on the House floor have the following impacts:
 
• Rewords the prohibition with respect to certain advertising and publications, providing that this prohibition does not just apply with respect to a particular tenant or prospective tenant but applies generally with respect to any publications that express a preference of limitation or requirement based on any source of income
• Rewords the provision regarding reimbursement for source of income to refer to “applicant” rather than “tenant.”
• Provides that the move-in inspection may be done by either the landlord or the landlord’s agent in conjunction with the tenant.
• Specifies that a Dept of Commerce inspection related to a claim for reimbursement may include the use of a third-party inspector as needed to investigate fraud.
• Provides that the reimbursement program and account may provide reimbursement for claims submitted by landlords for renting private market rental units to low-income tenants using a qualified source of income. “Low-income” is defined as not exceeding 80% of the median income for the standard metro statistical area in which the private market rental unit is located.