It is legally acceptable for housing providers to use income level as criteria in selecting applicants. For conventional housing providers, this usually means applicants must have an income level well above the cost of the rent; for example, requiring an income two or three times the amount of the rent. Subsidized housing providers ordinarily have an income cap; an applicant can’t have an income above a specified amount. As always, these requirements must be consistently applied to all applicants.

While housing providers may make selection decisions based on level of income, they cannot refuse to rent, sell or lend based on the source of income, assuming the source is legal and ongoing. This means, for example, a landlord may not deny an applicant because their source of income is a public assistance program, such as Social Security, Social Security Disability, SSI or TANF. If a social service provider, such as the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), is providing ongoing income, it is illegal to reject the applicant because the landlord does not want to accept checks from a government or nonprofit agency. Similarly, the landlord cannot reject an applicant solely because a portion of their rent is being paid by a local housing authority in the form of a Section 8 voucher.