Proposed St Louis County Ordinance Would Require Landlords To Accept Section 8

A bill introduced by St Louis County Councilmember Lisa Clancy would require landlords in unincorporated St Louis County to participate in the Section 8 program as well as pretty much any other rental subsidy program.  St Louis County bill number 102 (see complete bill at bottom of article), introduced by Councilmember Clancy, if passed, would amend the existing St Louis County “Fair Housing Code” ordinance adding “lawful source of income” to the list of things that a landlord cannot discriminate based upon.

The St Louis County Fair Housing Ordinance (section 717.020) currently makes it unlawful for landlords to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status.  Currently included in the protected classes under St Louis County law, which are not included in the Federal Fair Housing Act, are “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”.  In addition, St Louis County has “gender” as a class instead of “sex” as is in the Federal Fair Housing Act.  If St Louis County Council bill 102 passes and becomes an ordinance, then “lawful source of income” will be an additional protected class and will be another one that is not in the Federal Fair Housing Act.

There are other municipalities, counties, and states around the country that have passed similar legislation as well. As to be expected, legislation like this has been met with a mixed response.  

Is it discriminatory for a landlord to refuse to accept Section 8, Vouchers and the like? Continue reading “Proposed St Louis County Ordinance Would Require Landlords To Accept Section 8

Home mortgages may become more costly in St. Louis thanks to local law


In spite of warning  from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the St. Louis Association of REALTORS (SLAR) and other housing-related groups of the damage the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” (Bill #174 introduced by Hazel Erby, District 1) could do to the already struggling St Louis housing market, including increasing the cost of home mortgages, last month the  St. Louis County Council passed the bill, it was signed into law by County Executive Charlie Dooley and will go into effect on September 28, 2012. Then, just last week, Lewis Reed, President of the St. Louis Board of Alderman, introduced what is a basically the same bill in an attempt to get the same law enacted by the City of St. Louis.

Opponents of the law, including SLAR and the MBA, say this law will likely lead to higher cost mortgages in St Louis County (and, assuming they pass it, the city of St Louis) as lenders will increase fees to cover additional costs they will have in complying with this new law and proponents of the law say this is not so.  I think the proponents of the bill are wrong and am confident that this will lead to higher cost mortgages in areas that have enacted the Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code or similar laws. So, why am I so sure?  It just so happens that yesterday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency charged with overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued a notice of a proposal to increase mortgage fee pricing (guarantee fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge) on loans in states where, due to laws and the requirements imposed upon lenders (or other investors) to “manage a default, foreclose and obtain marketable title to the property backing a single-family mortgage“, foreclosures take longer.  Continue reading “Home mortgages may become more costly in St. Louis thanks to local law