Annapolis landlords and property managers cannot under updated Annapolis law ask about the citizenship or immigration status of potential tenants or buyers.
A revision to the Annapolis fair housing code passed Monday would bar landlords and property managers from probing potential renters or buyers about their immigration or citizenship status.
The law also would bar landlords from evicting tenants based on immigration or citizenship status or reporting a tenant’s immigration status or citizenship status to anyone.
Annapolis fair housing law already bars discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, sex, source of income or national origin.
Alderman Marc Rodriguez, the bill’s lead sponsor, spearheaded the legislation after spending time with immigrant families living in poor conditions within the city.
Rodriguez last summer provided legal help to asylum seekers in the South Texas Family Residential Center, a detention center in Dilley, Texas. He returned with a desire to make it easier for people to access safe, adequate housing.
At the April 29 City Council meeting, a number of advocates supported the measure.
Maryline O’Shea, an Annapolis resident from France, spoke of the limitations already burdening immigrants.
“I’m here to tell you that the limitations placed on immigrants are already hard enough to overcome,” she said. “Building a sufficient income and credit history required to qualify for the rent levels in our city is already a tremendous challenge.”
O’Shea, a real estate agent and landlord renting to an immigrant family, said she sees no negative effect on the industry. Rather, she sees the move as a weight lifted from immigrants who fear unfair treatment.
Rodriguez consulted with the Maryland Multi-Housing Association, an organization providing education, training and government services to the multi-housing industry in Maryland.
Adam Skolnik, executive director of the association, said the law would not pose significant barriers to organization members, largely apartment community management owners. Most Annapolis landlords and property managers accept alternatives to Social Security numbers to verify credit, criminal background and renting history for potential tenants, he said.
By Danielle Ohl for CAPITAL GASETTE
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