I recently got this update and wanted to share with you, my readers. As a Realtor, I get updates to changes in legislation that affects us nationally, in the state, county, and or city. This one was VERY important and I wanted to share.
BLUF: DON’T DISCRIMINATE ON ANYONE
If you are a Seller/Landlord and do not want to sell or rent to a class of people, DO NOT TELL ME. DO NOT HIRE ME. Legislation now supports a practice that I have had all along. AMEN!
LEGISLATIVE ALERT – January 25, 2020
Dwayne Mingo, Director of Government Affairs
IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
REALTORS® transacting business in Prince George’s County, Maryland, should be aware of recently enacted legislation revising the Prince George’s County Code with regards to housing discrimination.
CB-38-2019 (Fair Housing) amends the County’s existing Human Relations Commission law (Subtitle 2, Division 12 of the County Code), to prohibit discrimination in housing based on immigration status, citizenship status and source of income. In short, a recent legal opinion states that “source of income” would prohibit a property owner to decline a tenant based solely on their income source or HUD housing choice voucher.
The legislation takes effect on Monday, February 3, 2020.
The specifics: CB-38-2019 (Fair Housing) makes the following housing and residential real estate practices unlawful:
- Discriminate by inquiring about immigration status or citizenship status in connection with the sale, lease, sublease, assignment, or other transfer of a housing unit;
- Discriminate by requiring documentation, information or other proof of immigration status or citizenship status;
- Discriminate in the sale, lease, sublease, assignment, or other transfer of a housing unit by requiring proof of immigration status or citizenship status, such as a social security number, without providing an alternative that does not reveal immigration status or citizenship status, such as individual taxpayer identification number;
- Discriminate by disclosing, reporting, or threatening to disclose or report immigration status or citizenship status to anyone including an immigration authority, law enforcement agency, or local, state, or federal agency, for the purpose of inducing a person to vacate the housing unit or for the purpose of retaliating against a person for the filing of a claim or complaint; and
- Discriminate by evicting a person from a housing unit by otherwise attempting to obtain possession of a housing unit because of the person’s immigration status or citizenship status unless the remedy is sought to comply with a federal or state law or a court order.
CB-38-2019 (Fair Housing) defines source of income as any lawful verifiable source of money paid directly or indirectly to a renter or buyer of a housing unit, including:
- Income received through any lawful profession or occupation;
- Federal, state, or local government assistance including housing choice vouchers, medical assistance subsidies, rental assistance, and rent supplements;
- Any inheritance, pension, annuity, alimony, child support, trust, or investment accounts;
- Any gift verified by a letter or other means but, unless it is recurring throughout a tenancy, the gift may support one-time expenses only, such as a security deposit or pet fee; and
- Any sale or pledge of property if the sale or pledge will result in proceeds inuring to the recipient’s benefit within sixty days of the application to rent a housing unit, purchase a housing unit, or purchase an interest in a housing unit.
PGCAR ACTION – The Legislative Committee reviewed the bill and expressed a great deal of concern about the ramifications with regards to adding source of income to Prince George’s County’s Fair Housing Code as a protected class. PGCAR submitted written comments and testified in opposition to the bill at two (2) committee hearings, and lobbied to get language incorporated into the bill as an amendment which stated that “the housing choice voucher program is a voluntary program for landlords that choose to participate.” However, at the final day of the council session, our amended language was omitted, and a substitution was made.
Because CB-38-2019 now defines a housing choice voucher as a “source of income” and now defines a “source of income” as a protected class, landlords will now be required to participate in the federal housing choice program if an otherwise eligible tenant holds a housing choice voucher. A landlord would NO LONGER have the option to participate in the voluntary federal program because an eligible tenant could require the landlord to participate.
We encourage you to share this information with your sales team, associates and or colleagues.
Additionally, you can review Subtitle 2, Division 12 of the County Code that addresses Prince George’s County’s Fair Housing law by clicking the link below:
Other jurisdictions that have implemented anti-discrimination legislation:
Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, District of Columbia, Frederick County, Howard County and Montgomery County.
Should you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dwayne Mingo, Director of Government Affairs for the association at 301.306.7900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.