Austin City Council approved on second reading a measure that would require many of Austin’s landlords to accept state and federal housing vouchers as a source of income when renting units, reports the Austin Monitor.
The measure includes an amendment that exempts landlords who own up to four rental units and who do not use a property manager, according to the Monitor.
The “source of income” ordinance, which has been vigorously opposed by members of the Austin Apartment Association and applies to “Section 8” renters, now needs only to pass one more reading before it becomes law. City Council, which is well aware of Austin’s affordability issues, is expected to take that final vote in the coming weeks.
Landlords have raised objections that source of income protections would expose them to greater risk in the event of a lease default because those who use housing vouchers have fewer assets that could be recovered, according to city documentation filed with the ordinance. In place of mandating acceptance of housing vouchers, landlords and Realtors have suggested using tax incentives to get more landlords to accept housing vouchers.
Tenant advocates, such as the Austin Tenants Council, said that landlord concerns are overblown and unproven. In September, Tenant Council Executive Director Kathy Stark said that it is unlikely that new source of income requirements would have an effect on rents because the population of housing voucher recipients is too small.
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