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DISCRIMINATION IN THE RENTAL OR SALE OF HOUSING IS ILLEGAL

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Article 17-16

¡No Se Deje!

Federal law and the laws of all of the states prohibit discrimination in transactions dealing with the rental, sale, financing or appraisal of housing.  Federal and California laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, gender, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability or family status.   California law provides even more protection against discrimination than federal law in many situations.  For example, California law prohibits landlords from asking prospective tenants about their immigration status.   And California prohibits discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation or arbitrary categories that have nothing to do with being able to be a good tenant.  Examples of illegal arbitrary categories include union members, members of certain religions or political parties or occupations such as bartenders.

 

Discriminatory acts include refusing to rent, lease or sell real property for housing.  This includes apartments, condominiums and mobile homes.  It is illegal to refuse to negotiate in these transactions based on discrimination against these protected groups.  And, it is illegal to say that housing is not available if it is.  Housing discrimination experts have reported several situations that indicate that illegal discrimination is probably taking place, including the following:

 

  • The manager says that there are no vacancies even though there is a “vacancy” sign;
  • The newspaper ad continues to appear after the manager says there are no vacancies;
  • The manager says there are no vacancies after saying there is a vacancy on the phone;
  • Upon seeing the applicant, the manager says something to try to cause him/her to decide to not rent there like “this is a dangerous neighborhood” or “it is dangerous for children.”
  • The manager says that wheelchair ramps and other modifications cannot be made;
  • The manager says that the only available unit is unsafe for children because it is near the pool or on an upper level;
  • The manager says that only married women (or married couples) can live there with children;
  • The manager says that the conditions there make it difficult or dangerous for pregnant women;
  • The manager says that there are too many people in the family for that rental unit. No rental unit can be limited to one person because that would eliminate families.  Any limit on the number of people allowed to occupy the unit must be based on a legitimate business necessity.  And, even if there is a business necessity, landlords must use a less restrictive means to achieve it, if possible.

 

In those cases where judges have allowed occupancy limits, legal experts have established that the limits are reasonable and necessary to avoid serious and provable harm.

 

Under California law, tenants have a right to operate a Family Day Care Home as long as they take out a license.  This right cannot be denied even if city or county ordinances prohibit it or if the rental agreement forbids it.  Always contact the Fair Housing Council or an attorney if you believe you are the victim of illegal discrimination¡NO SE DEJE! ®    

 

¡NO SE DEJE! ®

  

JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.