MEDFORD, Ore. – A new law in Oregon now means that landlords cannot turn away renters because they receive federal Section 8 subsidies.
The law went into effect July 1.
The subsidies pay for part of the rent for people with low-income who qualify for the program. Previously, landlords were able to advertise for rentals and include “No Section 8,” to deny renting to those low-income tenants. Some landlords worried the tenants would be unable to pay the rent, or were involved in criminal activity.
“Section 8 has got a bad reputation for tenants that kind of tear the place up or don’t take care of the place,” said Lee Dunn, president of the Southern Oregon Rental Owners Association.
Dunn said he has had good experience renting to people on Section 8, because the tenants had to pass several background checks to even qualify for the program. Dunn said those people would be good tenants, because they did not want to risk being kicked out of the program for bad behavior.
The new law guarantees people on Section 8 can receive a rental application if they request one. Applicants can still be denied based on past history and background checks.
Under the new law, landlords can also receive up to $5,000 in reimbursements if they are forced to evict tenants because of damages to the unit. But Dunn said landlords would be required to bring the matter to court, which could be a lengthy process to receive the reimbursement.