Baltimore Anti-Discrimination Bill a 'Half-Measure'

Baltimore's City Council has banned source-of-income housing discrimination, but the bill leaves landlords a way out.

1 minute read

May 23, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

Under a new Baltimore law to protect tenants who use federal Housing Choice Vouchers, "landlords will be unable to turn away voucher holders simply for paying their rent with a voucher rather than with earned income, a rule that is already on the books in dozens of cities and several states," Jared Brey writes. 

According to councilman Ryan Dorsey, who introduced the bill, it "was meant to chip away at the concentration of poverty in Baltimore created by a legacy of discriminatory and segregationist policies."

But prior to a final vote, the council introduced an amendment that exempts buildings from the rule if at least 20 percent of their units are already rented to tenants using vouchers, capping the rule's effectiveness

Housing advocates, Brey reports, describe the 20 percent exemption as a "kind of a strange half-measure," saying it is "almost unheard of" in other places with source-of-income laws on the books. 

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