DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Iowa Legislature has passed a bill that will allow landlords to turn away potential renters who pay with Section 8 housing vouchers.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's voucher program is the largest rental housing assistance program in the country. It helps low-income, elderly and disabled people afford a wider range of housing.
Senate File 252 was approved by the Iowa Senate by a 30-17 vote just two days after the Iowa House passed the bill by a 56-38 vote. The bill prevents cities from having ordinances that prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to applicants who use the federal housing program. Three cities, Iowa City, Marion, and Des Moines currently have such ordinances.
In less than two years, landlords in those cities will be allowed to resume turning away Section 8 renters, if Governor Kim Reynolds signs this bill that now awaits her signature. While the bill would immediately ban any cities from creating any new ordinances, existing ones wouldn't be voided until January 1, 2023. Supporters of the bill say that will allow for a transition period and avoid the potential for people quickly having their homes taken away from them.
Republicans say the bill is a win for landlords who shouldn't be required to consider renters who take part in the program. Democrats say the bill will make it harder for low-income residents to find affordable housing. They add it could lead to landlords using "source of income" to cover for other forms of discrimination like for a person's race or disability.