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Q: We have a prospective tenant who indicated on their application that they have a housing voucher. Can we still enforce our same gross income requirement of 3x monthly rent? 

A:  When a prospective tenant has a housing voucher, a landlord may still enforce their gross income requirement without violating the source of income provision of Fair Housing law. However, in calculating whether the applicant has sufficient gross income, the landlord must analyze the tenant’s portion of the monthly rent, not the total rent. The voucher portion of the rent is secured with the housing voucher. Therefore, the landlord’s focus should be on whether the prospective tenant can afford their share of the rent. So, to avoid source-of-funds discrimination, landlords should subtract any rental assistance funds from the total monthly rent prior to calculating whether the tenant satisfies the income criteria. For example, if the landlord has a gross income requirement of 3x monthly rent, and monthly rent is $1,500, then ordinarily an applicant would need a gross income of $4,500. However, if the applicant has a housing voucher for $500 per month, then the tenant’s share of monthly rent is $1,000, meaning their gross income requirement would be $3,000 per month. 

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