There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.

  —Rosalynn Carter

Unlawful Discrimination

What is it?

A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant or engage in any other type of discrimination on the basis of group characteristics specified by law that are not closely related to the landlord’s business needs.  Under California law, it is unlawful for a landlord, managing agent, real estate broker, or salesperson to discriminate against a person or harass a person because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to them, as well as gender and perception of gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or disability.

Examples of Unlawful Discrimination

  • Refusing to sell, rent or lease.
  • Refusing to negotiate for a sale, rental, or lease.
  • Representing that housing is not available for inspection, sale or rental when it is, in fact, available.
  • Otherwise denying or withholding housing accommodations.
  • Providing inferior housing terms, conditions, privileges, facilities or services.
  • Harassing a person in connection with housing accommodations.
  • Canceling or terminating a sale or rental agreement.
  • Refusing to permit a person with a disability, at the person’s own expense, to make reasonable modifications to a rental unit necessary to allow the person with a disability “full enjoyment of the premises”.

Do you feel you are a victim of housing discrimination?

If you are a victim of housing discrimination, you may have several legal remedies, including:

  • Recovery of out-of-pocket losses
  • An injunction prohibiting the unlawful practice
  • Access to housing that the landlord denied you
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Civil penalties or punitive damages
  • Attorney's fees

From California Department of Consumer Affairs. California Tenants A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities. Unlawful discrimination.2012 Edition.web.23 May 2016

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