LA landlords would have to accept voucher tenants under City Council plan

The proposed ordinance, which advanced this week, is aimed at cracking down on renter discrimination
April 18, 2019 12:08PM

Councilman Paul Krekorian

Amid a housing crisis and skyrocketing rents, Los Angeles’ low-income tenants are finding it increasingly difficult to secure a place to live as landlords favor high-paying renters over tenants with Section 8 vouchers.

That may change soon. This week, the City Council advanced a law that would prohibit landlords from refusing tenants with Section 8 vouchers, the Los Angeles Times reported. The ordinance is aimed at increasing protections from discrimination against those renters.

It doesn’t directly address rising rents, but would prohibit blanket bans on vouchers and outlaw advertisements that say vouchers are not accepted.

Housing advocates say bans on vouchers are often used to discriminate by race or income.

According to research by the Urban Institute, 76 percent of landlords in L.A. County with units affordable to voucher tenants refused to accept them. The Times reported that nearly half the people who received Section 8 vouchers in L.A. saw them expire in 2017 before finding a place to live. Six years earlier, just 18 percent of the vouchers expired.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who proposed the ordinance, said low voucher usage rates could mean the city receives less funding in the future from the federal program. Experts have said federal subsidies aren’t keeping pace with rising rents.

If the final ordinance is passed, it would take effect in 2020. Other cities like Santa Monica have approved similar laws to eliminate discrimination. [LAT]Gregory Cornfield