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State and Local Voucher Protection Laws

The federal Housing Choice Voucher program is the nation’s largest rental housing assistance program, helping more than 2 million households afford housing every year. Renters with vouchers often face discrimination from landlords, which can severely limit their housing options. Recognizing the prevalence and harms of discrimination against voucher holders, some state and local governments have adopted laws that prohibit landlords from denying rental applicants based on their use of a voucher.

This dataset includes 16 state laws and 104 city and county laws that prevent landlords from discriminating against voucher holders and were passed between 1971 and July 2021. The dataset includes details on these laws, including the year of adoption, repeals or substantive amendments, and key features of laws that may influence their effectiveness. The dataset also provides scores that estimate the relative strength and weaknesses of the laws based on these features. To build the dataset, Urban Institute researchers worked closely with the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, which tracks state and local laws that bar source-of-income discrimination.

For more information on the dataset, including how we identified and coded the features and constructed the strength score, please refer to the brief “State and Local Voucher Protection Laws: Introducing a New Legal Dataset.” In the brief, we also share findings from an analysis that uses the dataset to explore trends in state and local voucher protection laws, including who they cover and how their features and strength have changed over time.

These fields are compatible with DCAT, an RDF vocabulary designed to facilitate interoperability between data catalogs published on the Web.
Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
United States
Solomon Greene, Philip Tegeler, Patrick Spauster, Abigail Hollinger, and Daniel Teles
Contact Name
Daniel Teles
Contact Email
Public Access Level
These fields are specific to Urban Institute.
Data Dictionary Files
Project Code
Geographic Level
Units of Observation
Universe Target Population
United States Housing Choice Voucher holders
Urban Publications
Citation Requirements

Urban Institute. 2021. State and Local Voucher Protection Laws. Accessible from Developed at the Urban Institute, and made available under the ODC-BY 1.0 Attribution License.