MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Landlords in Minneapolis will soon be required to accept tenants using Section 8 housing vouchers.
On Friday morning, Minneapolis city council members approved the ordinance unanimously that is aimed at combating discrimination when it comes to housing.
The ordinance will prohibit landlords from refusing applicants who use Section 8 and other government housing vouchers, like GRH.
Many landlords in the city spoke out against the ordinance, claiming it will prompt landlords to hike up rent prices to avoid participating in the program.
"We are very concerned that this could have a destabilizing effect on the market, that the housing choice voucher program runs according to a certain mechanism and part of that is rent maximums. That could put upward pressure on rents to avoid participation in the program," said Cecil Smith of the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association.
Those in support of the measure cite 58 other jurisdictions across the country that have similar ordinances.
"Now, we will no longer be permitted to have properties advertise 'No Section 8 May Apply', something that long has been a tremendous barrier to really what is a relatively small group of individuals," said Elizabeth Glidden, council member for Minneapolis Ward 8.
This ordinance goes into effect in May of next year.
The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority released a statement in support of the decision:
Today the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously in favor of amending the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance to prohibit discrimination against Housing Choice Vouchers (also known as "Section 8") as a form of income for tenants seeking housing in the city. The change will take effect on May 1, 2018.
"The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) welcomes this council action that prohibits discrimination against families with Housing Choice Vouchers. While we do not believe this change is a cure-all for the challenges voucher families face in finding affordable housing, it will be a helpful step in addressing this issue. It will require that voucher families receive the same consideration given to other prospective tenants, and eliminate the "No Section 8" warning that is unfortunately all too common in rental listings. We are hopeful that the change will encourage some families to consider neighborhoods of greater opportunity, which they might previously have felt were off-limits.
"In the year until the amendment takes effect, MPHA is committed to making changes that we believe will improve the experience for property owners and create opportunities for families utilizing the program. These changes will include enhancements to our inspections protocol, changes to payment processes, an extension of housing-search-time, improved communication and feedback opportunities for owners, and deeper collaboration with the City of Minneapolis and other regional public housing authorities. Our initial proposed changes are online (mphaonline.org/HousingChoiceDocuments) and we look forward to providing ongoing updates as we make these improvements.
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