Court Puts the Brakes on Austin's New Antidiscrimination Law

Earlier this month, the federal appeals court issued an emergency order temporarily blocking Austin, Texas, from enforcing a new law to ban discrimination based on source of income, according to the American-Statesman.

The ordinance, passed by the Austin City Council late last year, amends the fair housing code to prohibit discrimination based on source of income, including "housing vouchers and other subsidies provided by government or non-governmental entities." Under the ordinance, it would be unlawful to refuse to rent to an individual solely because he wishes to pay a portion of the rent with a voucher obtained through the federal Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, formerly known as Section 8. The program, administered by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, works with private-sector landlords and is funded by HUD.

The ruling is the latest development in a lawsuit filed by the Austin Apartment Association challenging the ordinance, which was originally scheduled to take effect in January. In late February, a federal judge in Texas refused the association’s request for a preliminary injunction to keep the new law from taking effect, but the appeals court has now put the matter on hold, pending further arguments in the case.

Sources:; Austin City Council; Austin Apartment Association