Legal Update 2020
Instructor: John Henderson
"Source of Income" Discrimination Ordinance Violated Home Rule Law
Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburg, Inc. v. The City of Pittsburg, 205 A. 3d 418 (2019) (2019)
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Facts: Pittsburg (a home rule municipality) amended its anti-discrimination ordinances to add a new protected class provision that barred residential property owners and brokers from denying access to housing based on a person's source of income to pay rent. The ordinance included all forms of public assistance and HUD Section 8 programs. The Apartment Association asserted that the ordinance was unconstitutional a violated the state's home rule law.
Issue: Did the City have the authority to enact the "source of income" discrimination ordinance?
Held: No. By defining "source of income" to include public assistance, the ordinance necessarily required all residential landlords to change their business practices to comply with the program requirements. This violated the state's home rule law which bars home rule municipalities from determining affirmative "duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon businesses, occupations and employers."