House approves property owner rights bill

January 24, 2024 | 12:10 am

Updated January 23, 2024 | 10:32 pm

Rep. Ryan Dotson, R-Winchester, speaks on property rights bill House Bill 18 on the House floor on Tuesday. | Photo by KY LRC

The Kentucky House of Representatives has approved House Bill 18, which would prohibit local governments from requiring landlords to accept tenants who use federal housing assistance such as Section 8 vouchers. 

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ryan Dotson, R-Winchester. He said HB 18 would “stop the blatant overreach” of local governments who have already adopted ordinances to that effect or are considering it. 

“Property ownership is a basic tenet of capitalism, and protecting those rights are vital to every one of us,” Dotson said. “I’m all about local control. My voting record reflects that … This is where we, as a body, should draw a line in the sand, because this is not truly a local control issue. It is a property rights issue.” 

Another provision of HB 18 would prohibit local governments from requiring property owners to pay fees that result from a first responder being called to a property, regardless of who made the call. 

Rep. Rachel Roarx, D-Louisville, said the legislation is a “housing discrimination bill.” 

“Let’s be clear who these vouchers help and who anti-discrimination laws help,” she said. “It helps our veterans, our seniors, or individuals with disabilities. It helps our immigrants, their families and children, and the housing insecure, (and) our chronically homeless.” 

Dotson said that local governments who have ordinances prohibiting landlords from declining to accept federal assistance are hurting the rental market and access to housing for everyone. 

“I think this is just a basic property rights bill,” Dotson said. “It doesn’t discriminate against anybody. It protects Black landlords, Hispanic landlords, Pakistani landlords, and even white landlords.”  

The House approved HB 18 by a 74-20 vote. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

Information from the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.

January 24, 2024 | 12:10 am

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