Iowa Makes it Easier for Landlords to Reject Housing Vouchers

The state of Iowa's Republican leadership preempted local laws that prevent landlords from rejecting housing vouchers as rent payment.

May 4, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

The Pioneer

f11photo / Shutterstock

"Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Friday signed into law a new bill condemned by housing advocates and city officials that would allow landlords to turn away tenants who receive Section 8 vouchers to help them pay rent," reports Celine Castronuovo.

"The bill, which passed in both chambers of the Republican-controlled Iowa General Assembly in March, prohibits counties from adopting laws that would prohibit a landlord 'from refusing to lease or rent out a dwelling unit to a person because of the person’s use of a federal housing voucher issued by the United States department of housing and urban development.'"

Iowa's new law preempts laws in three Iowa cities: Des Moines, Iowa City, and Marion. Other states and cities have approved source of income discrimination laws in recent years as a form of tenant protection in a tight housing market with prices increasingly out of the reach of families and individuals.

A 2018 report by the Urban Institute quantified the prevalence of source of income discrimination in cities around the country.

The Iowa law attracted the attention of housing officials in the Biden administration. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge said the federal government would sue Iowa in opposition to the law during in an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid in March. 

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