- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Some property owners in Dubuque are objecting to a proposal that would require them to consider all types of income equally when choosing renters.

But others, including some landlords, say adding it to the city’s human rights ordinance could help prevent discrimination. About 70 residents packed into a library auditorium on Thursday night to hear discussion on the proposed amendment at the Dubuque’s Human Rights Commission meeting.

Commission members have been mulling the proposed provision for months, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1waCLCQ ). If the commission approves the amendment and the City Council says it’s OK, landlords would have to consider all income sources, including housing vouchers and Social Security payments, when deciding if an applicant can afford to pay rent.

Some landlords who object to the proposal say it would put an extra financial burden on them. If a tenant damages a rental unit, landlords can seek relief through the courts, according to Jerry Maro, president of the Dubuque Area Landlords Association. But, if the tenant only receives government assistance, then landlords have no recourse to collect damages.

“We’re trying to protect our investment,” he said.

Keith Nilles, a retired renter, said he was shocked to learn landlords could deny his retirement income as a valid source of income.

No action was taken on the proposal by the commission, which will likely spend a few more months discussing the issue before it decides whether to send it to the City Council for consideration.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com


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