Minneapolis to weigh banning bias against low-income renters

Minneapolis landlords would not be allowed to deny a rental application because the prospective tenant receives housing subsidies under a proposal the City Council will see later this year.

Under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, a tenant is responsible for a portion of their rent and the federal government pays the rest.

Dave Holt manages about 75 rental properties in Minneapolis. Many of the property owners he works for don't currently accept Section 8 vouchers, and he says the city shouldn't force them to.

"Requiring a landlord to accept a program that now creates more paper work, more administration, more cost is not fair," Holt said.

But Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden says the proposal will open up more housing options for residents.

"This would in a sense even the playing field and make more opportunities, hopefully, for individuals to have effective use of their Section 8 voucher," she said.

Glidden on Friday gave formal notice that she'll introduce the measure. It'll be referred to committee in two weeks and then scheduled for a public hearing weeks after that.

There are 4,600 Minneapolis families enrolled in the voucher program. Connecticut, New Jersey and a number of cities and counties around the country ban discrimination against Section 8 recipients.

Minnesota courts, however, have held that state civil rights laws don't require landlords to participate in the program.

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