Tempe considering banning landlords from turning away tenants using housing vouchers

The city of Tempe plans to vote on an anti-discrimination ordinance, adding those with housing vouchers so landlords can't deny them.
Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 6:14 PM MST
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TEMPE, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — Tempe City Council is considering banning landlords from rejecting tenants who use Section 8 housing vouchers. The ordinance would make people who use government housing assistance a protected class.

Advocates say housing vouchers are a lifeline for many families and prevent them from ending up on the streets. “We want people to be able to stay in their community, give back to their community, and continue to live there. This would give them opportunity and access,” said Megan Wilson, the program director for Tempe Community Action Agency.

Wilson said people who use housing vouchers are often turned away. According to city leaders, 30% to 40% of people with housing vouchers can’t use them. “When a housing unit is coming up, everyone is rushing to go grab that housing unit that we know will take vouchers that works with us,” said Wilson.

Meanwhile, landlord advocates argue this proposal comes with more government red tape for rental property owners. “You have to enter into an agreement with the federal government. You have to wait for rent payments, wait for inspections. When you have a tight housing market like we have in Arizona, it is just hard for rental property owners to jump through hoops,” said Courtney LeVinus, the CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association.

Tempe City Council is set to have a final public hearing and vote on the proposal on Nov. 30.

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