Denver City Council proposal would force landlords to accept housing vouchers

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DENVER — A Denver City Council committee passed a proposal that would force landlords to accept non-traditional forms of payment for rent.

The measure, which was proposed by Councilwoman at-large Robin Kniech, requires landlords to accept things like housing vouchers, child support payments, social security, disability and other social programs as forms of income for tenants or would-be tenants.

The goal is to open more housing options to low-income residents. Currently, landlords in Denver can choose whether or not they want to accept these types of payments. Because of that, it can be difficult for people with Section 8 housing vouchers, for instance, to find an apartment that accepts the vouchers in Denver.

The proposal has already received pushback from landlord groups. They argue that they often don’t receive payments on time from these programs and could be left waiting for months for the money to come from the Denver Housing Authority.

Several cities and states across the country have already enacted similar measures.

It’s just the latest step city leaders are taking to try to make the city more affordable. Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Hancock also announced his intentions of asking city council to double its affordable housing fund using marijuana tax money and bond to create and preserve 6,000 affordable homes within the next five years.

Meanwhile, The Denver Housing Authority announced a new Low-Income Vocher Equity program, also known as LIVE Denver. It’s a pilot program that will help buy down the rent for working professionals to help them be able to afford to live in Denver.

The new proposal now faces a public comment period before the full city council will vote on it in August. If the measure passes, the anti-income discrimination policy would begin on Jan. 1, 2019. Landlords that are found to not be complying with the policy could face fines from the city.

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