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Council Considers 'Housing For All' Package To Protect Renters

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Columbus City Council tonight is expected to pass three ordinances to provide options and protections for tenants seeking affordable housing. The Housing for All legislation mandates that owners provide tenants with rental receipts, provides more flexibility for renters regarding security deposits, and protects potential residents from being turned away based on their source of income. 

"A number of low-income tenants are unbanked and without access to electronic payment methods, and this policy provides a protection for them when they are required to prove that their rent was paid on time," Councilmember Shayla Favor said of the rental receipt piece of legislation. "The renter's choice legislation provides choice and optionality for tenants by allowing them to pay their security deposit in full, in installments in 6, or installments of 3 months. Some landlords advertise rentals with no housing choice vouchers or no Section 8. The source of income legislation establishes protections for tenants in this space, making it illegal to discriminate against a tenant solely on their source of income in the city of Columbus." 

The city says the new law will allow landlords to maintain their ability to screen all applicants equitably and deny housing to those who do not meet other eligibility criteria. The Source of Income protection provides opportunities, particularly for households utilizing the Housing Choice Voucher program.  

“The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) currently funds over 12,500 vouchers throughout Columbus and Franklin County," said CMHA Chief Operating Officer Scott Scharlach. "We provide rental subsidies to over 3,000 unique landlords in the private market each month. We support this legislation and believe it will expand and promote fair housing in our community. The source of someone’s income should not dictate where they can and can’t live. By opening additional housing options, we are providing an opportunity for the residents of Columbus to choose where they live."  

The three measures would take effect July 1. The Columbus Urban League will investigate complaints regarding the violation of the new policies

Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience.