For an important update on this blog post, check out the more recent information on protected status as of 2020.
Residential real estate investors and property managers will be required by law to accept housing subsidized applicants in all Denver county rental properties. You may no longer deny an applicant simply because you do not wish to work with the subsidized housing program often referred to as 'Section 8'.
The new legislation is a result of the housing shortage in Denver. The City of Denver has added a new protected class to its list — source of income. If someone is receiving government assistance as a source of income, landlords must now consider those applicants for their vacant rental units. Source of income is no longer an acceptable qualifier when screening applicants.
Below are a few notable items to keep in mind as this new law takes effect:
Section 8 is no longer called Section 8
The term Section 8 has unfortunately gained a negative connotation in the real estate sector. You may instead hear program names such as Unison Housing Partners and Housing Choice Voucher in reference to government-assisted voucher programs. Be sure you are up-to-date on these types of programs as you now must accept them as applicants.
Applicants must still qualify and meet your existing qualification standards
This is likely to be a challenge in the Denver investment real estate space because some Section 8 applicants may not be able to meet your existing screening criteria. If they could, they probably wouldn’t require government assistance. Owners must be fair in their screening processes and should take caution as not to discriminate based on an applicant’s source of income. You may decline an applicant if they do not meet your minimum scoring criteria; but you may not consider the source of their income as part of your scoring criteria.
The outcome of this new rule is simple - You as a Denver rental property owner cannot deny an applicant based on their source income. The source of an applicant’s income can no longer be taken into consideration during your screening process.
The city of Denver will be enforcing this new law, possibly by calling to inquire on vacant units listed for rent. Property managers and landlords should be prepared to allow housing vouchers or risk the consequences of being non-compliant.
As the new law takes effect, Denver investors are likely to face some challenges or have questions. Consider Grace Property Management a resource. Give our team a call. 303-255-1990