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Source-of-income discrimination in housing bills heading for full House

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Supporters of the bills say people who receive housing assistance—like vouchers—can have trouble finding housing because of income source-based discrimination.

Michigan bills that would ban discrimination in housing based on a tenant's source of income advanced out of the state House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

The legislation would mean landlords would no longer be able to deny a rental unit to someone because they receive housing assistance.

Representative Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor) is a package co-sponsor. He said the bills are “common sense.”

“They’re intended to ensure that every person has equal access to housing in our state. Specifically with a focus on lower income folks, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities. And this just requires that they’re given a fair shot at housing,” Morgan said.

In previous hearings, opponents of the package shared concerns it could place too much of a burden on landlords.

A new version of the bills approved in committee would keep them from applying to small landlords who rent fewer than five spaces.

“We’ve tried to set a reasonable threshold here that ensures that those who are a larger operation and have the infrastructure in place to comply with these rules are really the ones who are required to do it,” Morgan said.

A new version of the bills approved Wednesday in committee would keep them from applying to small landlords who rent fewer than five spaces.

The bills now head to the full state House of Representative for the chamber to consider the package.

Previous versions of two bills in it have already passed the state Senate.

Colin Jackson is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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