In California, discrimination is taken very seriously. It is important for landlords to understand Fair Housing Laws to ensure that they remain in compliance with these requirements. This can go a long way toward protecting landlords from serious legal consequences if they reject a tenant on a discriminatory basis. Here is an overview to allow you to ensure that you follow fair housing practices in California.
What are Fair Housing Laws?
Fair Housing Laws prohibit a landlord from illegally refusing to rent to a tenant due to a discriminatory basis. A few of these reasons include on basis of race, color, religion, sex, and many other things. It is important to familiarize yourself with these laws and ensure that you remain compliant with them. Failure to comply with Fair Housing Laws can result in extreme legal consequences. These laws also require landlords to make reasonable accommodations in policies or other aspects to meet the needs of a disabled individual. For example, a rental property with a “no pets” property will be required to allow a guide dog for a vision-impaired tenant.
Exemptions in California
There are more federal exemptions than there are in California. This means that the California exemptions are the only acceptable ones in the area. In California, an owner-occupied, single-family home is allowed to reject an applicant based on the size of their family if they only rent to one individual and comply with all FEHA’s prohibitions against discriminatory actions. Exemptions apply to housing that is operated by an organization or private club that limit their occupancy to members only. Exemptions also apply to statements that indicate a preference for a roommate of the same sex in a shared living situation.
Protect Yourself from Lawsuits
Though landlords are not allowed to reject applicants on a discriminatory basis, there are a few legal reasons to reject an applicant. A landlord may reject a tenant based on bad credit, negative references, poor past behavior, and a few other reasons. Ensure that you keep a written list stating your criteria for tenants. This will allow you to prove that a tenant was rejected for a legal reason, such as insufficient income, rather than a prohibited one.
Fair Housing Laws can vary depending on the specific location. In California, the laws have fewer exemptions. To learn more about the Fair Housing Laws in California, contact us at the Keyrenter in Solano today!