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Minneapolis approves ordinance that requires landlords to consider Section 8 renters

Supporters say it'll reduce discrimination, while opponents called it an "intrusion to private business."

A controversial ordinance that aims to limit discrimination when it comes to housing in Minneapolis has been approved.

The ordinance, which the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved Friday morning, would require landlords to consider renters who are part of the Section 8 housing program (a federal program that helps low-income residents pay rent). Previously, it was legal for landlords to deny renters because they had a Section 8 voucher.

The city says this ordinance, which will go into effect May 1, 2018, will give renters with Section 8 vouchers the same opportunities as other rental applicants.

The ordinance will go into effect May 1, 2018.

But this ordinance has been pretty controversial, with supporters saying changing the rule will help prevent discrimination and make it so low-income residents aren't limited to living in low-income neighborhoods. Plus, some people who rely on Section 8 say housing is too hard to find.

Meanwhile, those who opposed the ordinance, including some landlords, say being part of the program is a giant hassle – from inspections and payments, to paperwork and other legalities. Some have called it an “intrusion to private business,” Finance & Commerce reported.

According to the Minnesota Multi Housing Association, landlords say they might even be forced to hike up prices so they don’t qualify for the program, with the association noting that mandating a voluntary program will disrupt the housing market and make rent less affordable for everyone, adding what will really help low-income renters is reform.

The City of Minneapolis says about 6 percent of the city's rental units will be affected by the ordinance.

There are 5,428 families who are currently using the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program in Minneapolis, according to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and more than 1,700 families are on the program's waiting list, a news release says.

The map below shows where participants are located.

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