“Housing Fairness” Bill Is Unfair to Landlords

<CascadeNewLogoBy Doug DeFilipps

Ending “housing discrimination” against holders of Section 8 rent assistance may sound like a worthy goal, but not all ways of expanding their living options are fair. Oregon House Bill 2639 is one such deeply flawed method.

On the surface the law seems reasonable: It requires landlords to consider applications from Section 8 voucher holders, but it does not give special preference to such renters. However, the catch is that any landlord who accepts Section 8 voucher payments must have the building undergo inspection, and it must meet certain marketplace standards. This may be fine when landlords’ participation in Section 8 is voluntary; but is it fair to place these requirements on all landlords?

Meeting these standards takes time and money. No one benefits from landlords having to consider renters whom they then have to accommodate differently from other people. The landlord loses money by having to bring the building up to these standards.

Ending discrimination is one thing. It’s another to saddle Oregon landlords with the burdensome requirements that come with House Bill 2639.

Doug DeFilipps is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University.

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Posted by at 08:58 | Posted in Housing | 25 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Francis Pettygrove

    Ending “housing discrimination” against Section 8 parasites is not “a worthy goal.” No one should be forced to rent to these cockroaches.

    • 3H

      Nice. Your compassion, empathy and understanding is truly amazing.

      • periplaneta americana

        What are the mental and physical parameters attending section 8 tenands?
        Smokers come to mind and what about registered sex offenders?

        • 3H

          Yes, they all most be smokers, sex offenders or cockroaches. Or maybe even all three. I kind of respect your ability to not be bothered by your ignorance.

          • peripaneta americana

            I’ve never been landlord nor do I care to be. On the other hand, you seem as some snort ombudsman for the shebang of three, liabilities none of which should bear precedence over landlord rights.

          • 3H

            Well, if you read more closely, I simply asked, at first, how the section 8 requirements would be onerous.

            What I have seen, is a lot of ad hominem attacks on people who are on section 8. Parasites, sex offenders, cockroaches. Little to no discussion of exactly what this bill will mean to your average landlord.

            Landlord vs. tenant rights are fluid. It is a reaonable discussion to article that some elements may be unfair to landlords, while others are necessary for tenants.

            I realize the concept of a reasoned discussion is foreign to you, most likely because you’re too busy trying to impress everyone with how clever you are. Can we just stipulate to the fact that you are terribly, terribly clever and actually discuss the issue. Preferably without assuming that a whole class of people are contemptible simply because they need help? Is that too much for you? Would you find you have nothing to say?

          • periplaneta americana

            You sir, appear a left wing thing with rants in your pants and cannot fathom any truth within your delusional realm.

          • 3H

            Really.. care to discuss specifics? Where am I wrong? I’m willing to have a regular grown-up discussion about the issue. Are you game?

            If not, then you may want to consider that I’m not the one with the problem of ranting and you’re simply engaging in projection.

          • p a

            Oh you kid! A fan of Paul Krugman, perhaps.

          • 3H

            Sadly, just as I thought.

          • p a

            Sad 3H, an Alfred E Neuman manifesting for what’s what’s left of US? Ha!

          • marvinmcconoughey

            The Section 8 requirements would be onerous because denial of Section 8 applicants risk being seen as evidence of discrimination. Those who now push to mandate such applications possess, in my view, a fundamentally anti-landlord attitude that distorts their outlook and objectivity.

            Consider this: What if you were told that you must now consider eating at a defined group of restaurants whose food you consider to have higher risks than at other restaurants. How would you feel about that? How would your family feel about that. Particularly if you chose to eat at one of the restaurants and found the food to be unsatisfactory, despite a fine-sounding menu. Would you feel a bit mistreated by your government?

            A further, undefinable, risk is that if mandating acceptance of Section 8 applicants does not result in substantially higher acceptance rates, the follow-on action will be to further impose pressure on landlords to rent to such applicants.

        • Francis Pettygrove

          Renting to section 8 is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the rent is never late, that’s why some landlords love it. On the other hand, 90% of them treat the place like merde. Your repair bills are twice as high with section 8 as with regular tenants. In addition to never doing the ordinary day to day cleaning the rest of us take for granted, they usually have 3 or 4 kids from three or four different fathers tearing up the place, and both the kids and the ‘parent’ are always pissing off the neighbors or (in a multifamily property) the other tenants.

          If you’re a scumbag landlord who rents crap units, you probably love section 8, because they’re the only tenants in your slum whose rent is always paid on time. If you’re a normal, decent person, trying to rent a decent home to decent people, avoid section 8 like the plague they are.

          • periplaneta americana

            Thank you for a dissection of what’s apparent to a lot of landlords and government ‘coagulated’ agencies.

            Section 8 tenands, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_8_(housing) are what they are – some even connected with pestilence associated with http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/section-8-miliary-/

        • marvinmcconoughey

          You ask, “What are the mental and physical parameters attending Section 8 tenants?” As a past landlord who did accept Section 8 applications from renters for several years, and rented to some of the applicants, I can tell you that I was never able to define their parameters to my satisfaction. And that was a large reason that we stopped accepting such applications.

          The screening tools that worked acceptably for non-Section 8 tenants proved unreliable when used for Section 8 applicants. The problems included the young family who seemed adequate, until they moved. Then they simply dumped everything that they didn’t want to take with them on the driveway and left.

          Another tenant decided that she wanted several rooms purple, and proceeded to paint them that color without asking or permission.

          Then there was the lay religious leader who proved unable to pay the rent on time, despite numerous reminders.

          I could go on, but in each case, the Section 8 tenants passed our screening criteria, which included checks with the past landlord. We wondered if the favorable referrals possibly reflected a desire to remove problem renters. If we had employed more stringent checks for Section 8 applicants, we would then have been vulnerable to legal challenges on the basis of discrimination.

          Some Section 8 renters were satisfactory. But the rate of failures overall was unacceptable to two small mom and pop landlords.

      • Francis Pettygrove

        So, why not exercise a little of this compassion of which you speak and share your living space with a section 8 parasite?

        Yeah, that’s what I thought.

        • 3H

          How is that the same thing? Sharing my house cannot be equated with renting to someone on section 8. Why do you call them parasites? How many do you know? You really have some anger issues and it has affected your ability to use logic.

  • 3H

    Which standards do you believe are too onerous of a requirement for landlords to be saddled with? It does sound like you want to protect slumlords and substandard living quarters.

    Secondly, if they don’t to or rent to potential section 8 tenands, isn’t this entirely voluntary on the part of the landlord?

  • JacklordGod

    SO if you rent to a conventional tenant, they say ok, you sign the lease, they move in. If you rent to section 8 you get to hang around and wait for a government inspector. Hope he approves everything on a lengthy form. And then, if nothing is wrong, the tenant moves in.

    If you can’t see why a landlord would prefer to just rent to someone rather than hang around waiting for some dopey inspector then you probably should go back and take 6th grade economics over again.

    Really, the only reason I can see for accepting section 8 is if you are in an area where you have trouble attracting conventional tenants, or where with the proper palm greasing you can get far more than the apartment is worth.

    Gee, wonder if that happens?

    • 3H

      “If you can’t see why a landlord would prefer to just rent to someone rather than hang around waiting for some dopey inspector then you probably should go back and take 6th grade economics over again.”

      Because, perhaps, they are guaranteed to be paid at least part of the rent every month.

      • JacklordGod

        Doubtful. In Oregon eviction is fairly easy.

        • 3H

          While the process may be fairly easy, there is stil a delay. A landlord can probably find that they are owed several months rent, not to mention the delay between getting the property ready for renting again. I can easily see an apartment or house not generating income for 3 to 4 months.

          The advantage of section 8 is that the tentant is expected to pay 30% of their income to rent, with the remained being subsidized. If the tenant falls behind on their portion, the owner is at least getting some income.

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