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Bexley Adds 'Source Of Income' Protection To Fair Housing Law

For Rent yard sign
Shane Adams
Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Bexley appears to be the first community in Central Ohio to ban housing discrimination based on how a person gets their rent money.

The ordinance approved by the Bexley City Council this week added "source of income" to its fair housing law. It refers to source of income as “lawful income derived from wages, Social Security, supplemental security income, all forms of federal, state or local assistance payments or subsidies, including rent vouchers, child support, spousal support and public assistance which can be verified and substantiated.”

Council approved the ordinance 6-1, with council member Richard Sharp casting the only “no” vote.

Bexley City Council president Lori Ann Feibel says it’s meant to protect people who use federal housing vouchers to pay rent. She calls it an important change, although she could not recall any complaints about income-based housing discrimination in the affluent suburb.

“While we haven’t heard a lot of complaints about it, I don’t think people are very good about standing up and saying, ‘I’ve been discriminated against.’ And it’s very hard to prove,” Feibel says.

Feibel says Bexley is the first city in Central Ohio to add protections for renters using federal housing vouchers. The city joins a few others around the state, including Cincinnati, South Euclid, and University Heights, in passing legislation to protect tenants who use such vouchers.

The ordinance does not go into effect until January 2021, which Feibel says will give landlords time to become familiar with the law.

Feibel admits it will be difficult to enforce the law since landlords can use myriad reasons to not rent to someone.

“It’s going to be challenging, but I think we’ll get better and better at how we go about policing it as others cites follow our guide and take this piece of legislation on as well,” Feibel says.