SB 90 - Mandating Property Owners to Accept Section 8
Delaware lawmakers seek to revise the fair housing act and landlord-tenant code to force property owners to accept ANY rental payment received from government-sponsored programs including section eight and other housing subsidy programs
Urge Lawmakers to Oppose SB 90!
Property Owners should not be forced to participate in government sponsored subsidies
June 24, 2022
SB 90, aims to help Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) holders find housing by mandating that property owners particiapte in these program regardless of if they are willing or able to meet the burdensome requirements of such programs. The bill will revise both the Delaware Fair Housing Act and Residential Landlord-Tenant Code to repeal the exception to discrimination based on source of income that allows a landlord to decide if they wish to accept residents who participate in government-sponsored rental assistance programs.
Lawmakers and housing advocates mistakenly believe that property owners and landlords refuse to accept section 8 (and similar programs) because there is a bias against those who are on these programs. This belief could not be further from the truth. Property owners choose not to accept section 8 applicants because they do not want to work with the program that require property owners and operators to adhere to additional regulatory requirements, which are otherwise not imposed in a standard apartment leasing transaction that can significantly increase the cost of doing business.
The requirements imposed by Section 8 may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Prescribed tenancy approval process, including additional paperwork and mandatory approval timeline;
- Use of the local Public Housing Authority's (PHA) model lease or review and approval of the owner's preferred lease by the PHA;
- Execution of a "tenancy addendum" to be attached to every voucher holder's lease;
- In addition to the owner and resident's agreement, owners must agree to enter into a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract with the PHA and to comply with added lease terms and administrative responsibilities contained therein;
- Potential change in the amount of housing assistance without warning and at any point during the term of the lease;
- Rents subject to "reasonableness" requirements and limits on rent increases which are subject to approval by the PHA;
- Inspections of the housing prior to move in and annually to determine whether the housing meets HUD's Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and/or equivalent state or local standards approved by HUD;
- Possible delay in rental payments at any point during the lease term without recourse due to federal budget appropriations delays,rlengthy administrative processes and even arbitrary withholding of payment by PHAs;
- Mandated termination policies and procedures including strict limits on when an owner may evict a resident and for what reason; and
- Additional time to coordinate with the PHA and ensure compliance with the program's stringent requirements.
There are better options for improving the availability of rental housing for voucher holders than mandating participation in the Section 8 Program such as increasing funding for the Program and reducing the bureaucratic requirements associated with it.
The bill will ultimately put additional pressure on housing providers with very little benefit to the renters who the legislation is supposed to be helping.