Under federal law and California state laws, landlords cannot discriminate against certain, protected groups of people. The Fair Housing Act, a federal law, prohibits a landlord from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The Fair Housing Act is enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
There are also two California state laws governing unlawful discrimination by landlords: the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Unruh Act). The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces both laws. FEHA prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, disability, and source of income. The Unruh Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. Also, courts have construed the Unruh Act to also prohibit discrimination based on personal traits, beliefs, or characteristics similar to those listed in the Unruh Act.
Under FEHA and the Unruh Act, a landlord cannot discriminate against tenants or prospective tenants based on any of the protected characteristics (race, color, etc.) in any of the following ways. This is a non-exclusive list:
In California, tenants alleging discrimination can file a complaint in civil court or they can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Here are the steps for filing a complaint with DFEH:
If you are a landlord who has been accused of discrimination, you should consult an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer. Your lawyer can help you decide on a course of action, understand DFEH’s process, and protect your legal rights.
Last Modified: 03-27-2018 12:52 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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