If you can pay rent on time, isn’t that enough? Not always in Charlotte

By Lauren Lindstrom, The Charlotte Observer


After 14 years in her east Charlotte home, the news came as a shock.

Earlier this year, Keesha’s landlord told her he is selling the house to someone looking to flip it — and her family has to be out by early May.

For the first time in more than a decade, she is on the hunt for a new home, and a landlord who will accept the federal Housing Choice voucher Keesha has used for years to help pay her rent.

What she’s found so far is rejection, a steady stream of “automatic nos” from landlords unwilling to even consider her application because of how she pays her rent, she said.

Keesha asked The Charlotte Observer to use only her first name because she’s fearful speaking publicly will further hinder her ongoing housing search.

“I’ve never had this problem before. No one is taking it,” she said. “In Charlotte, man, it’s hard. I’m scared I’m about to be homeless.”

MAP: Average home prices by Charlotte ZIP code

Housing advocates say landlords who screen out tenants with vouchers are committing legal discrimination because there are no laws in North Carolina preventing it. Efforts have stalled over the years to add protections against source of income discrimination — rejecting tenants because of how they pay rent — to Charlotte’s fair housing ordinance.

This spring, Charlotte City Council members will consider another approach, with a new set of recommendations from an advisory committee looking to reduce source of income discrimination. It would build on changes that Inlivian, Charlotte’s housing authority, has already made to increase landlord participation, including sign-on bonuses and paying for damages above normal wear and tear.

Read more at The Charlotte Observer


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