Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Lobo The Independent Voice of UNM since 1895
Latest Issue
Read our print edition on Issuu
Housing Discrimination.jpg

A "For Lease" sign stands near North Albuquerque on Jan. 18.

New bill hopes to protect renters and buyers from income discrimination

A new bill, introduced in New Mexico’s 2024 Regular Legislative Session, is targeting the issue of housing discrimination based on a renter or buyer’s source of income.

House Bill 25 – presented by Representative Kathleen Cates (D), Andrea Romero (D), Patricia Roybal Caballero (D) and Cristina Parajón (D) – would amend the state’s Human Rights Act to prohibit the refusal to sell or rent property to someone based on their income source, defined in the bill as “a lawful and verifiable source of money used to pay for housing.”

The Human Rights Act currently protects renters and buyers from discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation and disability, among other factors. Adding an income source would mean those that receive rental assistance or government income support, such as Social Security, would be added as a protected class.

“If someone can show steady, reliable income, such as Social Security, and qualify for all other criterias, then a landlord cannot discriminate. (Landlords) have to have the same criteria for everyone,” Cates said.

The bill defines an example of discrimination, in this context, as landlords not renting to those on government housing assistance or other forms of income, such as social security or child support.

In June 2022, the City of Albuquerque passed a similar ordinance prohibiting income source discrimination. Income source discrimination can create a bottleneck where landlords limit housing options available to certain individuals, thereby slowing down the overall process of finding suitable and affordable housing for them, Katerine Simon with Albuquerque’s Health, Housing, & Homelessness division said.

“When people with housing vouchers are unable to find a place to live, a bottleneck is created that slows down many other peoples’ efforts to exit homelessness or simply live affordably,” Simon said.

Cates said she hopes to bring the measure statewide in this year’s legislative session that began on Jan. 16 and ends Feb. 15. The House Commerce & Economic Development Committee will consider HB 25 on Jan. 29.

“To me, this is just a human rights issue,” Cates said. “(Landlords) cannot change your criteria just based on the income source for your tenant.”

51,500 New Mexicans use federal Section 8 vouchers to afford housing – 72% of which are seniors, children or people with disabilities. In 2020, New Mexico received $168 million in federal rental assistance. Most of this goes to mortgage interest deductions which decrease interest rates with those with mortgages. These typically benefit high-income households that are less likely to be beholden to a landlord, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Adding protection for income sources in the Human Rights Act would enable those who feel discriminated against by their landlords to take their claims to the New Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, Cates said.

The goal of legislation, Cates said, is to offer a way to protect those with different sources of income and offer them a way to feel safer. There is more to be done to address the housing crisis in New Mexico, Cates said, but she is optimistic.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox

“We need 500 programs to address the housing crisis our country is in, not just our state. This is just one,” Cates said.

Danielle Knox is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at

Danielle Knox

Danielle Knox is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Lobo