Recently, we’ve received some questions regarding Fair Housing and Source of Funds. Specifically, the questions were regarding housing vouchers. Some have asked about the DPOR guidance on Source of Funds. The biggest question is whether a landlord must accept a housing voucher, regardless of how many properties they own.
The answer is found in the statute. The exemption from accepting housing vouchers only applies if the landlord has ownership interest (whether outright or through an entity at more than 10%) in four or less rental properties, said otherwise, in more than four rental properties.
As a property manager, how can you know if the owner has more than four properties? Well, Virginia REALTORS® has a form for that, Form 930 – Ownership Declaration Form. A landlord can choose to not accept housing vouchers if they fall under the exemption, conversely, there is nothing stopping a landlord from willingly accepting the vouchers despite the exemption.
As a final note, the exemption is merely for the number of properties owned. Say for example, that a landlord owns six properties, but they decline to accept a housing voucher because they feel they cannot pass the HQS – HCV inspection. That is not a legally valid reason and as such it would expose everyone involved to a Fair Housing inquiry and potential violations.