What Landlords Need to Know:
1. The City of Tucson passed The Source of Income Ordinance (11959) on September 27th. It goes into effect immediately!
2. The Ordinance lists source of income as a protected class under Fair Housing and
3. If a Prospective Tenant calls and asks if you accept Section 8 or another voucher program for a
rental property/unit within the Tucson City limits and you indicate in any way that you do not
accept that form of payment or indicate the tenant will not qualify you may be in violation of the
4. It is very likely there will be valid challenges to this Ordinance, but until it is overturned Landlords
5. What does “source of income” mean? Source of income refers to how someone obtains money
to pay rent such as wages, tips, investment income etc. and most relevantly in this case vouchers
from programs offering rental assistance such as Section 8, Veteran’s benefits or any program or
organization agreeing to assist with rental payments. You must consider as income all sources of
income that can be verified as to amount, regularity, and length of time to be received.
6. And what does not “discriminating” against a tenant mean with regard to source of income?
You may not tell a tenant you will not accept the tenant because of their source of income or not participate
in the voucher program. Do not suggest the tenant will not qualify. Do not refuse to allow the tenant to
submit an application or discourage the tenant from submitting an application. You may and should provide
the tenant with your rental criteria and of course the monthly rate for the unit as well as security deposit
requirements and application fees.
What to Do:
1. Review your application policies. If you do not have a written application policy, write an
application policy. Be specific. Follow your application policy. Ensure it does not include that
you will not accept Section 8 or voucher programs and it would be a good idea to include that
you consider all income from all sources that can be “verified as to amount, regularity and
length of time to be received.”
2. Do not tell a tenant they will not qualify, even if you know Section 8 or the voucher program will
not pay the rates you have set for your units. This would qualify as discrimination.
3. Implement a policy immediately that all managers, owners, and staff clearly indicate if any
tenant calls and asks about Section 8 or source of income, or vouchers that you will and do
accept all vouchers and all verified sources of income. And you must accept all verified sources of income.
4. You may charge all tenants an application fee. You may not charge only Section 8 or voucher
tenants an application fee. You may require the payment of the application fee in certified
funds, again as long as this requirement applies to all applicants.
5. You may charge a security deposit. The maximum allowed under Arizona law is 1.5x the
monthly rent for all deposits and prepaid rent (including pet deposits).
6. You may establish, and should establish (See #1 above), criteria for tenants based upon
income/employment (just not source of income), criminal history, rental history, credit. You
may require the tenant to have income of 2 times or 3 times or 4 times etc. the monthly rate for
7. Review the website: Section 8 Resources/Reference Page for the City of Tucson:
It is highly unlikely the ordinance will result in more Section 8 tenants finding housing in Tucson;
however, we want to prevent discrimination claims and ensure landlords are all in compliance with
these new rules.
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