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Source of Income

Source of income is not a protected class under federal or state fair housing law. However, denials of applicants based on income source may violate the Fair Housing Act if the housing provider is using it as a guise for discrimination against classes that are protected under the Fair Housing Act (for instance, race, disability, and national origin).

Local ordinances throughout the state of Michigan also provide some protections against source of income discrimination. Currently, there are ten cities in Michigan that have an ordinance protecting residents against source of income discrimination. In our service area, those cities include Lansing, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Jackson. To view an interactive state-wide and nationwide map with more information, you can visit the website here.

If you hear…

I’m sorry, we don’t accept vouchers.

Two years of steady employment required.

You still need to earn three times the monthly rent even with your voucher.

I don’t allow child support to be counted as income.

We don’t accept any forms of government assistance as income.

Then you may be experiencing housing discrimination.

Source of Income Discrimination: refusing to rent to an applicant based on their lawful form of income.

Potential sources of income that could be discriminated against:

  • Section 8 housing choice voucher
  • Veteran benefits
  • Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Disability benefits
  • Child support
  • Unemployment
  • Retirement plans

What could source of income discrimination look like? 

Example

A tenant receives their first housing choice voucher and attempts to place it with a landlord. One landlord the tenant visits states that they do not “rent qualify” or “income qualify” because they do not earn three times the monthly rent. 

Example

A landlord wants to renovate or remodel their property. They serve only tenants using Section 8 vouchers an eviction notice or won’t accept vouchers for the “upgraded” units.

Did you know? 150,000 Michigan households use federal rental assistance to afford housing. 19% of assisted people are seniors, 24% of assisted people have a disability, and 58 % of assisted people are in families with children. See the Michigan Federal Rental Assistance Fact Sheet here


The FHC Can Help With Housing Discrimination.

If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination, please call us toll-free at 1-877-979-FAIR to discuss the situation.

Information provided about allegations or complaints of housing discrimination will be kept confidential. We will not report undocumented immigrants to the authorities.

Retaliation is illegal. Any attempt should be immediately reported to the FHC.

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