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N.H. lets landlords discriminate against renters using government vouchers. A new bill would change that.

A line of Manchester Row Houses
Wikimedia Commons

A group of Democratic lawmakers want to make it illegal for New Hampshire landlords to discriminate against tenants participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program, which is also commonly known as Section 8.

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The Housing Choice Voucher program provides financial assistance meant to help low-income tenants can use secure apartments on the private rental market. In New Hampshire’s competitive rental market, local renters and housing officials have said it’s increasingly difficult to find landlords willing to participate in the program.

New Hampshire is the only state in the region where it’s perfectly legal for landlords to refuse to rent to people depending on their source of income. Consequently, many local renters regularly encounter ads that explicitly discourage those using vouchers from applying.

The new bill put forward for the 2022 session would prohibit New Hampshire landlords from refusing to rent to a tenant participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program.

It would, however, allow exceptions if the price of the landlord's unit is more than what the voucher allows or if the unit doesn't meet the housing quality standards mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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