KY Tenants pushing for Lexington to ban income-based discrimination
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The group ‘KY Tenants’ is calling on Lexington’s Urban County Council to adopt a ban on source-of-income discrimination by landlords.
Over the past year, the group’s push for a tenants’ bill of rights in the city had four main focuses: one of them is ending this practice.
“This policy, if passed, would make it illegal for landlords to discriminate based on where rent is paid,” said Nikita Perumal, a member of the organization. “So for example, housing vouchers and third-party payments.”
Housing vouchers should afford assistance to low-income families looking for decent, clean spaces. But too often, Perumal says renters can’t find decent places in the city.
“People are telling us consistently, ‘My voucher had to expire because I couldn’t find a landlord who would accept it,’ or [we hear from] people who had to take really bad housing situations,” Perumal said.
“I think anyone in Lexington who has looked for a place to live already knows what a grueling and horrific process that can be, even without the added component of landlords telling you ‘No, I don’t accept your form of payment,’” said Perumal.
Perumal is co-leading this effort, and it’s one that City Council almost didn’t hear at its last meeting on September 28. That’s because the mayor and multiple members left before the tenants spoke during public comment - leaving council without quorum.
We reached out to the mayor’s office for comment but have not yet heard back.
Perumal remains hopeful that this measure can pass, and she’s hoping it will happen before the year ends, so more people can get into safe housing quickly.
“Plenty of cities across the country have passed a policy like this, Louisville has passed a policy like this, and it’s very much proven to improve quality of life,” Perumal said.
KY Tenants says the Social Services and Public Safety Committee will discuss the ban during their next meeting on October 10. They could then move it on to be taken up by the full council.
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