Weekly Training Tip: Source of Income Discrimination - Grace Hill
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Weekly Training Tip: Source of Income Discrimination

Posted on December 10, 2018 by Grace Hill

income discrimination

Grace Hill Training Tip of the Week

Source of Income Discrimination

In Baltimore, the City Council is set to take up legislation that would make it illegal for property managers to discriminate against prospective residents because of how they would pay their rent.  This type of discrimination is known as “source of income” discrimination, and though not prohibited under federal fair housing law, it is prohibited by some state, city, and county laws.

Source of income discrimination is often directed at people whose lawful livelihoods come from sources other than a paycheck.


Examples of lawful sources of income include:

  • income discrimination
    Source of income discrimination may not be prohibited under federal fair housing law, however, it is prohibited by some state, city, and county laws.

    Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Social Security
  • Veterans benefits
  • Alimony or child support payments
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

What types of actions may be considered discrimination based on a source of income?

Here are some examples:

  • Advertising that a person “must have a job” to rent an apartment
  • Requiring documentation, such as pay stubs, that are typically only available to people who are working
  • Advertisements that express limitations as to the source of income of potential residents, such as, “No Section 8” or “We do not take public assistance”
  • Refusing to rent to a person who is receiving public benefits
  • Setting income requirements artificially high in order to exclude applicants who receive public benefits
  • Requiring co-signers or a larger security deposit because of an applicant’s source of income


If discrimination based on the source of income is prohibited in your state or locality, one of the most important things you can do to make sure you do not end up on the wrong side of a fair housing claim is to keep all employees well informed.

  • income discrimination
    Staff members should refresh their fair housing knowledge at least annually and be aware that discrimination based on “source of income” is illegal.

    All staff members who come into contact with residents and prospective residents must be trained in fair housing laws.

  • All staff members should refresh their fair housing knowledge at least annually and should be very clear that discrimination based on the source of income is illegal.
  • Don’t forget about vendors, supplier partners and contractors! Anyone who could possibly interact with your residents should be informed of your company’s fair housing policy and asked to abide by fair housing laws.


It is important to remember that many states, cities, and municipalities have expanded fair housing protection to include additional protected classes. In addition to the source of income, these may include characteristics such as ancestry, marital status, age, military status, and student status.


Even if your area does not include some or all of these additional protections, all people should be treated fairly and equally – as a housing provider, that’s your responsibility!

Grace Hill’s marketing content team aims to create informative resources that help multifamily and commercial industry professionals elevate their performance. From blog posts and ebooks to infographics, checklists and webinars, the Grace Hill team has a singular focus: creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with real estate professionals across the industry.  However, what makes Grace Hill so unique is the range of collective experience and collaborative spirit of its marketing content team. A group of talented writers with expertise in the real estate industry, overall management effectiveness, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency, the team provides new ideas to take performance to the next level. As a thought leader, Grace Hill's content team constantly pushes the envelope, experimenting with new resources and tools to keep industry professionals ahead of the curve.  Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the real estate industry, the content team at Grace Hill is creating resources to help you succeed. Learn more about Grace Hill on LinkedIn.

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