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Bill would bar income discrimination in rental housing

red for rent sign in front of house
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A Democratic state lawmaker has called for adding a new legal protection for renters. State Senator Jeff Irwin’s (D-Ann Arbor) bill would prohibit landlords from denying housing based on a prospective renter’s source of income.

“So right now in Michigan, we’ve got folks who have income from the VA, from disability, from child support, or who have Section 8 housing vouchers to help them pay for their housing, and this legislation would prohibit from discriminating against a prospective renter based on where their income comes from,” he said.

Irwin says “non-traditional” income sources would include government housing vouchers, child support, or Veterans Administration payments, but his bill would not stop landlords from checking credit and payment histories. Michigan already offers other legal protections for renters. Those include protections against discrimination based on gender, age, family status, or a disability.

“We just want to make sure that folks who are paying their rent, who need housing, but who have a non-traditional source of income aren’t discriminated against and aren’t denied housing,” he said.

Irwin says he’d like to get a hearing on his bill after the beginning of the new year.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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