Pa. Supreme court orders pittsburgh’s section 8 law back to lower court

From: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to reconsider a case involving a Pittsburgh ordinance banning housing discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders.

Commonwealth Court had heard arguments in the case, brought by the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, earlier this year, and ruled against the city, saying the 2015 ordinance violated the city’s home rule charter.

The apartment association argued that the ordinance would place a burden on landlords and their businesses by forcing them to accept the subsidized housing vouchers, and by making them participate in a federal program when they did not wish to.

The city had argued the law is needed to prevent discrimination against low-income tenants, who often cannot find landlords willing to accept vouchers, or can only find them in limited areas, and that discrimination against voucher holders is often a proxy for racial discrimination. Some other cities and counties have such laws, known as “source of income” protections.

In a ruling this month, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court for “reconsideration in light of this Court’s decision in Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Ass’n v. City of Pittsburgh.” This standard would appear to be much more favorable to the city. In that case, which also looked at what powers the city has to regulate private businesses, the Supreme Court ruled the city could require employers to provide paid sick leave.

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