States and Cities Divided Over Section 8 Mandates

NAA and its affiliate partners are working against the policy and instead for sustainable solutions.

By Ben Harrold |

4 minute read

As predicted in our outlook for 2024, source of income laws are once again the topic of debate in state legislatures and city councils. These policies require housing providers to accept Section 8 housing choice vouchers by adding “source of income” as a protected class in fair housing laws.

Currently, 19 states and more than 200 municipalities have source of income policies. Just this year, bills to do the same have been filed in Arizona, Indiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and West Virginia. Currently, three states preempt local governments from adopting source of income laws: Indiana, Iowa and Texas.


Louisville passed a source of income ordinance back in 2020 and Lexington is on track toward their own version of this mandate. Understanding the impacts of these ordinances, state legislators have moved to reverse these policies. A bill to preempt local governments’ power to adopt source of income ordinances passed the Kentucky state house on January 24, 2024. The Apartment Association of Kentucky, one of the National Apartment Association’s (NAA) state and local affiliate partners, is working diligently to get this bill across the finish line. Meanwhile, a competing bill that would require acceptance of vouchers across the State of Kentucky was filed on January 23, but it has not gained traction.


On January 25, 2024, the Kansas City, Mo. City Council passed an ordinance that will require private rental housing providers to participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This type of law is also known as a prohibition on “source of income discrimination.”

If a housing provider were to reject a voucher-holding applicant in Kansas City, they could now be subject to a fine of $1,000 and have their units put on “Special Probationary Status.” The new law also prohibits rejecting an applicant based on poor credit history without considering other types of information like personal references.

Thanks to NAA’s affiliate partners in Missouri, the HCV provisions in this ordinance could soon be overturned by a bill in the Missouri state legislature that would prohibit municipalities from requiring participation in the voucher program. This would impact additional source of income ordinances in Clayton, Maplewood, St. Louis, Webster Groves and St. Charles County.

New Mexico

A bill that would require voucher acceptance statewide failed in committee on January 19, 2024. It is likely that this bill will be seen again based on the sponsor’s continued support and it being one of the governor’s priorities. Source of income laws are currently on the books in the cities of Albuquerque Las Cruces, and Bernalillo and Doña Ana Counties. The Apartment Association of New Mexico made sure to voice the industry’s opposition to this bill when it was being considered, no doubt helping to secure its defeat.

Answering the Call

While the rental housing industry remains strong supporters of the HCV program, NAA remains concerned with this policy approach. Source of income laws ignore the significant challenges that housing providers face when they participate in the program, which is why Congress intended for participation to be voluntary.

NAA is committed to supporting our affiliate partners’ advocacy to protect the industry against these onerous policies that do not add a single additional unit of housing for low- and moderate-income households supported by the HCV program. We also continue to track changes to state and local housing policy of national significance like source of income laws (access NAA’s state tracker; NAA’s local tracking is available upon request).

To address the programmatic issues with the HCV program at the federal level, NAA staff and leadership met with officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) throughout the past year. This includes urging the Biden Administration against requiring source of income mandates as part of their Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights. Our collaboration with HUD, the agency overseeing HCV program, has allowed us to mitigate several unwelcome changes at the local level.

NAA is also actively collaborating with federal legislators to pass the Choice in Affordable Housing Act which would increase the number of vouchers, ease the burden on public housing agencies, and incentivize participation of rental operators across the country. Make your voice heard to get this critical piece of legislation passed!

To learn more about source of income or Section 8 HCV policies, please contact Ben Harrold, Manager of Public Policy.