Dayton, Ohio – The Dayton City Commission recently passed a new ordinance aimed at stopping housing discrimination based on source of income. The new ordinance, passed unanimously by all five city commissioners, is designed to protect those seeking housing who receive assistance, such as housing choice vouchers. It would prevent landlords from discriminating against potential tenants based on the source of their income.
The task force responsible for drafting the new ordinance estimated that there are at least 400 tenants in the city who wish to use housing choice vouchers but have been unable to find apartments. This new ordinance would make landlords consider alternative sources of income as well, such as social security, disability payments, veteran’s benefits, child support payments, and housing choice vouchers.
Dayton Municipal Clerk of Courts, Marty Gehres, was among several individuals who spoke in support of the ordinance during its second reading. He stated that the new legislation was “an important first step in ensuring everyone in our community has equal opportunity to quality housing.”
However, not everyone was in support of the ordinance. Opponents, such as Dayton Realtors President Greg Blatt, warned that the new legislation could have unintended consequences, potentially creating a “redline” around the city and sending the message that “Dayton is closed for business.”
Another opponent, Peter Julian, owner of Pathfinder Realty, suggested that if the ordinance was passed, rental properties could be sold to home owners, further exacerbating the limited supply of rental houses in the area.
Commissioners have clarified that the new ordinance does not require housing providers to always accept housing vouchers. Landlords who are unable to satisfy the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s minimum property standards would not be in violation of the city’s ordinance if they deny a possible tenant on those grounds.
The new ordinance is aimed at widening anti-discrimination laws in Dayton and providing equal opportunities for quality housing for all residents, regardless of their source of income. It remains to be seen whether or not the ordinance will have the intended effect or if it will create unintended consequences, as some opponents have warned.