Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich ordered the city of Tucson to accept a law that prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters who receive government assistance, after he deemed it unconstitutional.
Brnovich’s non-binding legal opinion is that Tucson’s “source of income” law is unconstitutional according to a press release published Thursday.
If Tucson does not rescind its ordinance within the next 30 days, the attorney general’s office will notify the state treasurer, who will withhold the city’s portion of state shared revenue until it comes into compliance, said Brittni Thomason, a spokesperson for the Arizona Attorney General’s office.
“Tucson’s ordinance restricting home sellers and (landlords) from considering the source of income of interested individuals violates state law,” Brnovich said in a press release on Thursday. “It must therefore be repealed within 30 days.”
Fewer landlords are accepting housing vouchers or leasing to tenants on Social Security in Arizona, and a growing number of people who are becoming homeless. Tucson’s ordinance is in response to the growing problem.
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Brnovich’s decision was based on a 1992 state law that ruled local fair housing ordinances had to be passed no later than Jan. 1, 1995. Tucson’s existing housing ordinance was amended on Sept. 27 with the “source of income” provision, 27 years after the 1992 law was passed.
The city attorney’s office said in a letter in response to the complaint that Tucson passed its fair housing ordinance in 1988, seven years before the purported deadline.
The letter further states that the 1992 state law authorizing cities to adopt fair housing ordinances before Jan. 1, 1995, “does not expressly prohibit enactments prior to that date or amendments after that date.”
City Attorney Mike Rankin said in an email