After Legal Setback, Pittsburgh to Appeal 'Source of Income' Decision

Pittsburgh will continue its pursuit of a "source of income" law to protect against housing discrimination.
April 16, 2018, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Wade H. Massie

Pittsburgh created an ordinance in 2015 that forced landlords to accept federal housing vouchers—a so-called "source of income" rule. Last month, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph James struck that law down, calling the law "invalid and unenforceable." Now the city plans to appeal that ruling.

Katie Giammarise reports:

At issue is a law that prevents property owners from discriminating against a tenant based on the person's “source of income.” City council passed the ordinance to address discrimination facing low-income tenants seeking to utilize subsidies, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, commonly called Section 8. The program gives low-income people a voucher to find a home in the private rental market; tenants must pay a portion of their income in rent with the difference made up via a federal subsidy.

The judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh shortly after the city approved the law.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty recently released a report that recommends source of income laws as a key strategy for reducing the "eviction epidemic" around the country. A similar law failed in Baltimore in 2016. Meanwhile, in Texas, the state and the city of Dallas squared off in court in 2017 over the state's preemption of source of income laws.

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Published on Friday, April 13, 2018 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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