Source of Income
Source of Income
Source of income is currently not a state or federally protected class. There are several municipalities in Pennsylvania that have added source of income as a protected class in their local jurisdictions. If source of income is not a locally protected class in your borough, township, or city, then landlords in Pennsylvania can choose whether or not they wish to participate in government subsidized programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. However, there are many good reasons why it is beneficial for a landlord to participate in a subsidized housing program.
Whether or not source of income is protected in your jurisdiction, all housing providers have a responsibility to ensure that their policies and practices do not have a discriminatory effect on members of protected classes. Not every tenant or prospective tenant will receive income from employment. Other sources of income can include child support, alimony, Social Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), veteran’s benefits, and retirement pensions. When
a housing provider has a policy of requiring paystubs or employment verification and a prospective tenant is not employed but receives disability-related income, the housing provider must accept the disability-related income as verifiable income.
Housing providers need to be mindful that certain types of income are correlated with membership in a protected class and refusing to consider these sources of income could have a discriminatory effect. For example, a policy of not accepting child support as income could have a discriminatory effect based on familial status. Pensions and retirement income need to be included so as not to have a policy which would have a discriminatory effect on individuals over the age of 40.