The Maryland HOME Act, HB 231, passed the House Environment and Transportation Committee last Thursday in a bipartisan vote. The bill is now headed to the House floor!
HB 231, sponsored by Del. Brooke Lierman, will ban housing discrimination based on source of income statewide.
Please call or email your Delegates today and ask them to vote for a clean HOME Act and against any floor amendments.
Don’t know your state Delegates? Check with your address here.
We anticipate and oppose three floor amendments that would create large loopholes in Maryland fair housing law:
Imposing a 20% cap on voucher holders
This proposed amendment is contrary to the purpose of fair housing laws and means 80% discrimination against voucher holders. This amendment would also make enforcement very difficult: How does a rejected tenant know whether a landlord or property has hit a certain “cap”? Urge your Delegate to vote AGAINST this amendment.
Exemption for small landlords who use realtors or property managers
The Maryland fair housing law already provides an exemption for property owners who own two or fewer units, as long as they do not use a realtor or property manager. The opposition wants to extend that exemption to landlords who use realtors and property managers. Maryland fair housing law has never provided an exemption for landlords who use realtors or property managers because once a property owner uses a realtor or property manager, they are considered to be “in the business of” being a landlord and are expected to know and understand fair housing law. Urge your Delegate to vote AGAINST this amendment.
Exemption based on occupation
Some landlords claim the HOME Act will prevent landlords from offering rent credits to certain occupations, like teachers. That claim is incorrect. The HOME Act does not prevent a landlord from offering rent credits or other benefits to particular occupations. Some local Maryland jurisdictions prohibit discrimination explicitly based on occupation, but Maryland state law does not and the HOME Act does not either. Urge your Delegate to vote AGAINST this amendment.
About source of income discrimination
Source of income discrimination contributes to concentrations of poverty, racially segregated housing, and homelessness. Over 90 local jurisdictions and 15 states prohibit this practice, including six counties and three cities in Maryland. In 2017, the American Bar Association adopted policy urging governments to prohibit the practice. It is time for Maryland to stop allowing this form of housing discrimination! Read more about efforts to ban source of income discrimination in housing here.