Insanity: In Washington DC Landlords Can’t Discriminate Based On Ability To Pay
This column by a condo-owner in Washington DC, detailing the maze of regulations landlords must navigate to rent their properties, is a fascinating (and horrifying) read. Among the absurdities is this description of a regulation which would seem to make it illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant based on their ability to actually pay for what they’re renting:
Under D.C. law, you are not allowed to discriminate based on the renter’s “source of income.” Who knew? It’s to protect the Section 8 program, which provides housing vouchers to low income residents. Because I worked for a Legal Services housing clinic in Boston during college, I know something about Section 8 and how valuable it is to tenants and landlords alike. (Federal guaranty? Yes, please!) But the wording of this D.C. law protects not only those low income families from discrimination but also the trust fund baby with unlimited parental backing or the bookmaker who doesn’t want to say where he got the money for his Porsche.
Unbelievable. And then there’s this:
I asked my property manager whether we could meet with potential tenants and interview them. She told me that, as a general rule, she does not like to meet any potential tenants. Why? Because if you never meet them, you cannot be accused of discriminating against them. It would be funny if it were not so Kafkaesque.
And we wonder why America’s economy is having such a tough time getting back on track.Tags: big government, regulation