By Mark Zinman | Zona Law
Question: I understand from your previous newsletter that Phoenix passed a law that makes “Source of Income” a protected class, and I have to accept Section 8 residents. However, Section 8 rents are lower than my current rent. What do I have to do?
Answer: You don’t have to do anything. Under the new City of Phoenix ordinance, you are required to accept a person regardless of the source of their income, if lawful. You are not required to change your screening criteria or your rental rate. Therefore, if the rent on your unit is higher than what the city will pay, you simply do not need to participate in the program. We always tell clients that if someone calls and asks, that owners and managers say, “We accept anyone who qualifies. Please apply.” Do not pre-qualify an applicating by telling them that your rents are too high. Simply, you should give your standards and rental rates to applicants. Let them decide for themselves, but you should encourage them to apply. In your case, the city will simply notify you that your rent is too high, and the applicant won’t qualify. You don’t need to reduce your rent.