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.