There are a couple of fair housing changes that will impact landlords in Maryland, specifically in Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties. Namely, it is now illegal to discriminate against a tenant/applicant based on their source of income.
Effective October 27, 2019, sources of income became a protected class in Anne Arundel County. Baltimore County soon followed suit by passing the Housing Opportunity Made Equal Act (“HOME Act”) on November 4, 2019, a new law that will make the source of income a protected class in that county too.
Source of income refers to any lawful source of funds used to rent housing. It includes money from (1) lawful employment; (2) any government or private assistance, grant, loan, or rental assistance program; and (3) any gift, inheritance, pension, annuity, alimony or child support.
If you operate rental properties in these Counties, you can no longer refuse to accept housing vouchers or deny applicants because they are utilizing a housing voucher. You should also take care to review your rental housing advertisements to ensure that they do not include language such as “no vouchers accepted” or “property will not pass housing voucher inspections,” etc.
If you have any fair housing questions, please feel free to contact me.
ABOUT REVÉE WALTERS
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Revée M. Walters is a Principal Attorney in the Landlord Representation and Commercial Litigation practice groups and is a member of Offit Kurman’s Diversity Committee. Revée represents small and large businesses in a wide variety of industries in state and federal court litigation, mediations, arbitrations, and agency proceedings. The primary focus of her practice is Fair Housing Act training, counseling and litigation defense, as well as the representation of property management companies and landlords, real estate agents and brokers, and real estate buyers and sellers in diverse and complex housing and employment law matters. This representation includes drafting commercial and residential leases, management agreements and partnership agreements related to real estate; advising and representing clients in cases involving subsidized housing, breaches of lease, wrongful detainer, tenant holdover, licensing and registration-related violations, and housing discrimination; and advising clients on employment issues, including compliance with federal and state employment laws, discipline and discharge decisions, handbook and policy development, and medical leave and disability issues.
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