The City of Kirkland is considering an ordinance that would prohibit a landlord from refusing to rent to a tenant solely based upon the applicant’s use of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. A second informational meeting will be held on Feb. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Kirkland City Hall, Peter Kirk Room, 123 5th Avenue to answer questions about the proposed ordinance. The draft ordinance and stakeholder feedback received at the two community meetings and from correspondence will be presented to the City Council on March 19, 2013. To learn more about the proposed ordinance and to read comments received at the January 23 community meeting, please visit www.kirklandwa.gov and search “Section 8 Voucher.”
The Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is funded by the federal government and administered by local housing authorities to assist low income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford housing in the private market. For Kirkland, the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) oversees the program. Section 8 participants pay a percentage of their household income for rent and utilities. Through a voucher system, KCHA pays the difference between the portion of the tenant’s rent and the amount requested by the landlord.
The ordinance Kirkland is considering would require landlords to use the same criteria for Section 8 renters that they apply to any other prospective tenant. Landlords may use their standard screening process, such as rental and credit history checks and may retain existing rental practices for deposits and rental agreements. Landlords are not required to change how they operate their property. Any property that has rents higher than the rent limits established by KCHA would not be required to lower rents to make units available to Section 8 participants. The program has administrative requirements such as an initial minimum lease period and property inspections. However, landlords who do not normally use the required lease period or who are unable to make any noted repairs, will not be required to participate in the program.
For specific questions and comments about the draft ordinance, contact Dawn Nelson, Planning & Community Development Department at 425-587-3230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.