There are a couple of fair housing changes that will impact landlords in Maryland, specifically in Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties. Namely, it is now illegal to discriminate against a tenant/applicant based on their source of income.
Effective October 27, 2019, sources of income became a protected class in Anne Arundel County. Baltimore County soon followed suit by passing the Housing Opportunity Made Equal Act (“HOME Act”) on November 4, 2019, a new law that will make the source of income a protected class in that county too.
Source of income refers to any lawful source of funds used to rent housing. It includes money from (1) lawful employment; (2) any government or private assistance, grant, loan, or rental assistance program; and (3) any gift, inheritance, pension, annuity, alimony or child support.
If you operate rental properties in these Counties, you can no longer refuse to accept housing vouchers or deny applicants because they are utilizing a housing voucher. You should also take care to review your rental housing advertisements to ensure that they do not include language such as “no vouchers accepted” or “property will not pass housing voucher inspections,” etc.
If you have any fair housing questions, please feel free to contact me.