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Kentucky General Assembly moves forward with rental payment legislation

Senate Committee on State and Local Government 02-14-24
Stu Johnson
Senate Committee on State and Local Government 02-14-24

Republican lawmakers are combining House and Senate bills in an effort to prevent local governments from requiring the acceptance of federal housing assistance. As early as next week the Kentucky General Assembly could give final passage to legislation regarding payment for rental housing. The merged bill came out of committee on Wednesday. GOP Winchester Representative Ryan Dotson said it’s not a local control issue, but a property rights issue. Senate Bill Sponsor Steve West said local ordinances requiring consideration of housing vouchers can be counterproductive.

“So, the more mandates you put on people, the more government regulation and intrusion…once you start to delve into that ecosystem…you may have less low income housing rather than more low income housing,” said West.

The City of Louisville has a ban on source of income discrimination in place and Lexington Council members are expected to vote on a similar proposal Thursday.

George Eklund is with the Coalition for Homeless in Louisville.

“Right now we struggle to get people into housing who are homeless because of barriers that people throw up around credit score, around deposits, around application fees,” said Eklund.

J.D. Carey with the Apartment Association of Kentucky said housing vouchers were designed to be voluntary. He said the inspection process can mean additional costs and acceptance of vouchers can delay move-in dates and delays in receiving rent.

The Lexington draft ordinance sets out that landlords must consider vouchers when renting, but doesn’t specify a requirement. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said the General Assembly is prepared to pass a bill and become law. He said he hopes Lexington leaders think twice about moving forward with their ordinance.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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