Landlord drops suit challenging rent-subsidy law


A federal lawsuit that challenged Howard County's requirement that landlords accept tenants with rent subsidies has been quietly dismissed.

The suit was filed in May by Clary's Crossing Apartments in Columbia, after a woman with a federal Section 8 voucher complained to the county that she was denied a chance to rent an apartment there. County law barring discrimination against people with subsidized incomes essentially requires landlords to participate in the Section 8 housing program.

But in October, the apartment complex dropped its challenge to that law after its owner, Merry Land & Investment Co. of Augusta, Ga., was acquired in a merger with Chicago-based Equity Residential Properties. Officials with Equity Residential Properties had no interest in pursuing the case, according to Edward J. Tarver, an Augusta attorney who represented Merry Land & Investment Co. in the suit.

Howard and Montgomery are the only two counties in the state with anti-discrimination laws barring landlords from refusing tenants because their income or rent payments are subsidized by the government. The Howard County Council revised the law this year to allow landlords to reject such applicants if 20 percent or more of their tenants have some form of subsidy.

Pub Date: 12/16/98

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