Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) on Friday signed a bill for a new bill condemned by housing attorneys and city officials that would allow landlords to refuse tenants who receive Section 8 vouchers to help them pay rent.
The bill, which passed through both houses of the Republican-controlled Iowa General Assembly in March, barred counties from passing laws that would prohibit landlords from “refusing to rent or lease housing to a person because of the use of federal housing by the person voucher issued by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. “
The measure, which takes effect on January 1
Reynolds announced the signing on Friday, although she did not comment further on the law, according to on Des Moines Register.
According to data from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), tenants of about 20,000 housing units in Iowa use federal vouchers, with the average household income of participants being $ 12,577 per year.
Landlords supported the law with the executive director of the Iowa Landlords Association Andrew Litsov told the Registry: “We are trying to educate our members about the benefits of adopting Section 8 or housing selection vouchers, but we prefer this to remain a voluntary program.”
Landlord groups claim that vouchers contain several requirements that have become obstacles for landlords, including additional checks and challenges with recovering money spent on repairing property damage.
Proponents of housing and city officials, however, rejected the law, arguing that it would disproportionately harm people of color and disabilities, who make up a large proportion of Iowa voucher holders.
Des Moines Community Development Director Chris Johansen told the registry: “When you reduce the number of landlords willing to accept a voucher, it just creates another hurdle for … our most vulnerable population we have.”
The Iowa Act also received national condemnation with the HUD secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOhio calls special election to replace outgoing representative Steve Stevers Democrats urge Biden administration to reopen investigation into Tamir Rice’s death withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protection for transgender homeless people MORE suggesting in an interview with Joy Reid of MSNBC in March that the measure could face a lawsuit from the federal government.
“This is a discussion we should have with the Department of Justice, but I would clearly believe that we have the right to demand that these communities cooperate with what we do,” Fudge told MSNBC at the time, adding that “A just home is the law of the land.”
“If they want to go into battle for this, we are ready to fight them for it,” she said.