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Lawmakers Pass Protections For Housing Voucher Users

Rachel Baye

The House voted Tuesday to pass a bill barring landlords and anyone selling a home from discriminating against a prospective tenant or buyer based on their source of income.

The Senate already passed the bill last month. The bill passed both chambers mostly along party lines but with veto-proof majorities.

While defending the bill against Republicans’ critiques on Tuesday, House Environment and Transportation Committee Chair Kumar Barve highlighted one group that stands to benefit — low-income residents using federal “Section 8” vouchers.

“There is something of an implied assumption that Section 8 voucher holders are worse tenants,” Barve said. “I’ve never seen any actual quantified proof of that.”

Versions of this measure have failed to get through the General Assembly every year since at least 2016.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 77% of voucher users in Maryland are black.

Several counties already have similar protections. In Baltimore City, landlords are required to make 20% of their units available to voucher holders. However, this bill would eliminate that cap.

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