Is it legal to refuse to rent to a rental applicant because they have a Section 8 housing voucher? For many years, in Rhode Island, the answer was yes; however, as of April 15th, this has changed.
Legislation has been approved in both the Rhode Island House and the Senate that would prohibit discrimination based on an applicant’s lawful source of income. Lawful sources of income include housing assistance, Social Security, disability, worker’s compensation, child support and other legal income. This legislation was signed by Governor McKee on April 15th.
Landlords still have the right to refuse to rent to applicants because of bad credit, felony convictions, prior evictions, references, and other screening criteria as long as they screen all applicants consistently and do not advertise “no vouchers” or refuse a showing or application because of the tenant’s source of income.
April is Fair Housing Month. Be sure to know your rights as a tenant and your obligations as a landlord. If you have any questions, reach out to me at Amy@AmyHoag.com or call me at 401-481-5135.