Michigan bills could prohibit landlords’ source-of-income discrimination

(Photo supplied/Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/money-home-coin-investment-2724235/)
People cannot be denied a place to live based on their race or disability in Michigan, but some are being turned down based on where they get the money to pay their rent.
Veterans using assistance, retirees on Social Security, parents who get child support or families who use housing vouchers are not protected by anti-discrimination laws. All can be denied rental opportunities even though they have consistent income.
Nora Ryan, supervising attorney for Michigan Legal Help, said such restrictions defeat the purpose of housing vouchers, which are supposed to allow people greater access to homes and neighborhoods, but the vouchers are often difficult to use.
“You have a relatively short period of time to be able to place that voucher,” Ryan explained. “A lot of landlords do not accept those vouchers. You can actually run out of time to use that voucher, and you can lose it. That ticket to stable, affordable housing is cut off.”
In the Michigan Legislature, Senate Bill 205, Senate Bill 206 and Senate Bill 207 would prohibit source-of-income discrimination, and allow renters who are turned down the right to seek “remedies for the discrimination” if they can prove they suffered a loss as a result. The idea was first introduced in the 2021 session, and is still in committee this year.
Jim Schaafsma, housing attorney for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, said he is keeping an eye on the U.S. debt ceiling battle in Congress as well. He worries if money for federal housing programs does not increase based on the rate of inflation, vouchers and other types of assistance could be jeopardized.
He noted Michigan’s state legislation will not be enough to help the overall housing situation.
“What we need is a significant increase in the supply of affordable housing in Michigan,” Schaafsma asserted. “But even more specific to the voucher program, what we need are what are known as higher payment standards because the higher the value of a voucher, the better the opportunities are for families to rent units in the place of their choice.”
Adding urgency to the problem, rent for a typical home in the Detroit metro area has increased by nearly 36% in the past five years, according to Zillow’s March 2023 Rental Market Report.

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Carole C. June 4, 2023 at 9:32 am

I am not a landlord but I don’t trust any promise to pay from a government body. All of them are bankrupt.

Kim June 4, 2023 at 5:27 pm

I am a landlord , sometimes the vouchers are barely enough to cover expenses and make amount of cash flow. . It takes years to break even on the actual initial investment, the rehab on the property to section 8 standards & city inspections. I certainly need to know how a family will be paying rent/ paying for utilities and a security deposit. Rent is in increasing , so are mortgage rates and supplies to repair the damages on the property. Attorney when they dont pay and the list goes on.

Bo lopez June 4, 2023 at 9:41 pm

Cry me a River. Rent pays for most mortgages. It’s the landlords that own the houses outright make money raising rent using inflated as an excuse.

Tyronicia Miller June 5, 2023 at 4:06 pm

You landlord are charging $50.00 late payments on top of rent. You know that’s not even legal. But it’s allowed because no one is doing anything about it. I’m about too. People can barely pay rent.Then you Landlord’s cry about government voucher because you don’t want to answer to them. Everyone has rules. You landlords don’t want to do what’s required by law from the government when it comes to inspection. Stop playing with me.

Charles U Farley June 6, 2023 at 8:52 am

Instead of forcing the landlords to take vouchers, the government needs to stop handing the vouchers out. People can pay their own rent, problem solved.

And if they pay it on time, they don’t get charged $50…

Logic June 4, 2023 at 6:13 pm

Okay, so in 10 years there will be no more landlords. No more places to rent that aren’t from the government/too big to fail corpos that can get away with anything. They managed to find the 1 and only way they could have dumbed the housing economy down even more. Noted.

Bo lopez June 4, 2023 at 9:44 pm

Did you read the article it’s about income discrimination nothing about no landlords there will always be landlords you guys try to say you don’t make money but that’s not true.

Charles U Farley June 5, 2023 at 10:39 am

Since you apparently have a vast knowledge of residential rental economics, are we to assume that you will be making your first billion soon?

Or are you just talking out of your backside because costs are skyrocketing (and it looks like you vote for the party that caused it)?

Anne Baskin June 4, 2023 at 9:57 pm

You get that right I been this house 29 years my rent went up to $800 hundred I only get ss 10027 dollars and working 2 day a week sometimes 1day a week 9 10 hours a week how can you live pay all your other bills it don’t make sense and they don’t do nothing say they come out and don’t I love where live around my family’s and people I no it be nothing things if they fix the house up .


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