Both federal and State of California law protects the following classes of people from discrimination in housing (a “class” is a group of people who have common characteristics or attributes such as skin color, gender, etc.). A property owner/manager or his or her agent is prohibited from refusing to rent, lease, or sell housing accommodations based on the following:

  • Federal Law: Race, color, religion, sex-(including sexual harassment), physical or mental disability, familial status (presence of minor children in the residence of a custodial adult), or national origin.
  • State Law: Race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, Gender, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression, national origin, ancestry, immigration or citizenship status inquiry, physical or mental disability, age, source of income, medical condition, or any arbitrary reason such as long hair or occupation.

Disability as defined under both California and Federal fair housing laws also includes two carefully defined groups, recovering alcoholics and former drug addicts including those who actively and regularly partici­pate in a AA or in a medically based drug treatment program.

Disability as defined under California State law does not include sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, or psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from the current unlawful use of controlled substances or other drugs. – (California Government Code 12926)

  • A landlord cannot refuse to rent to tenants just because the household includes one or more children and must allow at the minimum the occupancy of two persons to a bedroom plus one additional person for families with minor children, unless the unit being rented will not allow at the minimum 70 sq. feet for the first two persons & 50 sq. feet for each added person, excluding the kitchen and bathrooms. Both federal and state laws prohibit “adults only housing,” but apartment complexes or mobile home parks that meet the legally designated standards for senior housing may exclude families with children.
  • Under Sec.1940.3 of the California civil code- A landlord or manager is also prohibited from making any inquiry regarding the immigration or citizenship status of any tenant or prospective tenant with the exception of where the landlord or housing provider is complying with a legal obligation under federal law, or requesting documentation necessary to determine or verify financial qualifications of a prospective tenant, or verify the identity of a prospective tenants so long as any such policy is applied to all prospective tenants.
  • During tenancy a landlord is prohibited from treating one class of residents differently than another, for example responding more slowly, or performing repair work haphazardly for minorities, families, or any sub-group of residents. Rules should be the same for everyone and not overly restrictive. In particular a property owner/manager/agent cannot place arbitrary limitations in regard to terms, conditions, privileges, services, or facilities based on the residents ages.
  • Both federal and state fair housing laws require landlords to make reasonable accommodations when such accommodations are necessary to afford a disabled tenant equal rights to use and enjoy the property. Fair housing enforcing agencies and courts have consistently ruled that allowing modifications to a tenants unit at their expense, (re: grab bars & ramps), or allowing assistive animals (including companion animals) for disabled tenants is a reasonable accommodation. Additionally landlord are prohibited from charging any kind of fee as a condition of granting any such an accommodation, which means no pet deposit, pet rent, or other additional fee, may be charged.
  • Residential buildings newly constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 must be designed and constructed in a way that makes them accessible to and usable for persons with disabilities. This applies to both multi-family dwelling units and single family dwelling units in buildings having four or more units, whether the housing is privately owned or federally assisted.

During the application process and selection of tenants it’s illegal to:

  • Inquire verbally or in writing about the applicant’s class status. This includes asking questions about a person’s national origin, immigration or citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, presence of disability, presence of minor children, or source of income. Source of income is defined as lawful, verifiable income paid directly to a tenant or a representative of a tenant.
  • Run credit checks or verify applications on only some potential tenants and not others. (e.g., only single mothers or only minority persons).
  • Show less desirable apartments to home seekers of a non-favored group in order to discourage them from renting.
  • Quote a higher security deposit to a person of one group than to a person of another group.
  • Apply different eligibility or income standards for applicants based on their belonging to a certain group. CA. Government Code Section 12955, sub (m), requires housing providers to “account” the aggregate income of persons residing together “on the same basis” if you also allow married couples to account their aggregate incomes. In instances that involve accepting government rent subsides your income standard calculations are limited to assessing only that portion of the rent the tenant will be paying.
  • Indicate that an apartment has already been rented when it has not.
  • State to any person that there are no units available when, in fact, there are units available.
  • Give different information regarding vacancy dates, availability, move-in costs or waiting lists during any part of the application process based on the home seeker’s class.
  • If you feel that you have been discriminated against you may file a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD). Fair Housing of Sonoma County at Petaluma People Services Center has the necessary forms and information to assist you in this course of action.

Both federal and State of California law protects the following classes of people from discrimination in housing (a “class” is a group of people who have common characteristics or attributes such as skin color, gender, etc.). A property owner/manager or his or her agent is prohibited from refusing to rent, lease, or sell housing accommodations based on the following:

  • Federal Law: Race, color, religion, sex-(including sexual harassment), physical or mental disability, familial status (presence of minor children in the residence of a custodial adult), or national origin.
  • State Law: Race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, Gender, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression, national origin, ancestry, immigration or citizenship status inquiry, physical or mental disability, age, source of income, medical condition, or any arbitrary reason such as long hair or occupation.

Disability as defined under both California and Federal fair housing laws also includes two carefully defined groups, recovering alcoholics and former drug addicts including those who actively and regularly partici­pate in a AA or in a medically based drug treatment program.

Disability as defined under California State law does not include sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, or psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from the current unlawful use of controlled substances or other drugs. – (California Government Code 12926)

  • A landlord cannot refuse to rent to tenants just because the household includes one or more children and must allow at the minimum the occupancy of two persons to a bedroom plus one additional person for families with minor children, unless the unit being rented will not allow at the minimum 70 sq. feet for the first two persons & 50 sq. feet for each added person, excluding the kitchen and bathrooms. Both federal and state laws prohibit “adults only housing,” but apartment complexes or mobile home parks that meet the legally designated standards for senior housing may exclude families with children.
  • Under Sec.1940.3 of the California civil code- A landlord or manager is also prohibited from making any inquiry regarding the immigration or citizenship status of any tenant or prospective tenant with the exception of where the landlord or housing provider is complying with a legal obligation under federal law, or requesting documentation necessary to determine or verify financial qualifications of a prospective tenant, or verify the identity of a prospective tenants so long as any such policy is applied to all prospective tenants.
  • During tenancy a landlord is prohibited from treating one class of residents differently than another, for example responding more slowly, or performing repair work haphazardly for minorities, families, or any sub-group of residents. Rules should be the same for everyone and not overly restrictive. In particular a property owner/manager/agent cannot place arbitrary limitations in regard to terms, conditions, privileges, services, or facilities based on the residents ages.
  • Both federal and state fair housing laws require landlords to make reasonable accommodations when such accommodations are necessary to afford a disabled tenant equal rights to use and enjoy the property. Fair housing enforcing agencies and courts have consistently ruled that allowing modifications to a tenants unit at their expense, (re: grab bars & ramps), or allowing assistive animals (including companion animals) for disabled tenants is a reasonable accommodation. Additionally landlord are prohibited from charging any kind of fee as a condition of granting any such an accommodation, which means no pet deposit, pet rent, or other additional fee, may be charged.

 

  • Residential buildings newly constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 must be designed and constructed in a way that makes them accessible to and usable for persons with disabilities. This applies to both multi-family dwelling units and single family dwelling units in buildings having four or more units, whether the housing is privately owned or federally assisted.

During the application process and selection of tenants it’s illegal to:

  • Inquire verbally or in writing about the applicant’s class status. This includes asking questions about a person’s national origin, immigration or citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, presence of disability, presence of minor children, or source of income. Source of income is defined as lawful, verifiable income paid directly to a tenant or a representative of a tenant.
  • Run credit checks or verify applications on only some potential tenants and not others. (e.g., only single mothers or only minority persons).
  • Show less desirable apartments to home seekers of a non-favored group in order to discourage them from renting.
  • Quote a higher security deposit to a person of one group than to a person of another group.
  • Apply different eligibility or income standards for applicants based on their belonging to a certain group. CA. Government Code Section 12955, sub (m), requires housing providers to “account” the aggregate income of persons residing together “on the same basis” if you also allow married couples to account their aggregate incomes. In instances that involve accepting government rent subsides your income standard calculations are limited to assessing only that portion of the rent the tenant will be paying.
  • Indicate that an apartment has already been rented when it has not.
  • State to any person that there are no units available when, in fact, there are units available.
  • Give different information regarding vacancy dates, availability, move-in costs or waiting lists during any part of the application process based on the home seeker’s class.
  • If you feel that you have been discriminated against you may file a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD). Fair Housing of Sonoma County at Petaluma People Services Center has the necessary forms and information to assist you in this course of action.