HB 178: Making Cities Respect Property Rights in Good Landlord Programs

This Bill passed the House 62-9 and the Senate 25-0.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

We have previously written of the problems with the Good Landlord Program many cities operate that violate property rights. Cities effectively extort landlords into compliance with their conditions (such as disallowing property owners to rent to people with a criminal history) by charging vastly different fees for participating and non-participating property owners. A landlord who agrees to all the stipulations in a city’s Good Landlord Program may be assessed as small a fee as $20 per rental unit, while a landlord who chooses not to participate may pay 10 to 20 times that amount.

This is clearly a violation of property rights as it effectively forces all landlords to comply; it is not financially feasible for a landlord to opt out of the supposedly voluntarily program, as it would be a massive competitive disadvantage in light of other landlords complying and not having to pay the hefty fees.

Representative Brian King has sponsored House Bill 178 to address this issue. Quite simply, it specifies that cities that operate a Good Landlord Program may not require landlords to deny tenancy to an individual based on the person’s criminal history.

Landlords should have the right to choose to whom they wish to rent their property. This important bill helps protect property rights and prevents cities from unreasonably interfering on this fundamental issue.