San Jose Approves Law Banning Section 8 Housing Discrimination

The San Jose City Council has passed a new ordinance that would prohibit the blanket rejection of potential tenants based upon payment with Section 8 housing vouchers. The new law makes it illegal to deny tenancy solely on the basis of paying rent with vouchers.

The law which goes into effect September 26, 2019 will not be enforced for six months to give time to educate landlords of this new measure.  San Jose follows many other California cities including Los Angeles, Berkeley and East Palo Alto in enacting measures that prevent discrimination in housing based upon the use of vouchers.

San Jose Approves Law Banning Section 8 Housing Discrimination

The new law applies to all housing rentals including single family homes, duplexes, multi-family units with three apartments or more, co-living apartments, guest houses and mobile homes. Landlords will still be able to screen tenants on other issues like credit history or criminal history, but they can’t screen out applicants solely because a tenant applicant intends to pay with a voucher.

Landlords have long objected that the problem with Section 8 housing vouchers isn’t so much the tenants who are voucher holders but the bureaucracy and time required to get the units inspected and a contract established with the housing authority that results in delays and lost rent for weeks or months. Landlords and apartment associations say that these requirements and the lost time and lost rent they produce don’t do anything to alleviate the housing crisis by driving up landlord costs and discouraging developers from building new units. With more municipalities adopting these measures barring discrimination based upon prospective tenants paying with Section 8 housing vouchers, and similar legislation being discussed in Sacramento statewide, this is a growing trend that will add additional costs to landlords that will eventually be passed along in the form of higher rents.

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Section 8 of the American Housing Act 1937 lays out the rules for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and sets out Housing Quality Standards for landlords to follow. Section 8 Voucher Program is a tenant-oriented rental assistance package which allows a tenant to move from a house that offers minimum level housing quality to another. Read More...