DFEH Settles National Origin Discrimination Case Against San Rafael Property Owner

November 28, 2018

For Immediate Release

Company’s agents allegedly denied rental because prospective tenant did not submit U.S.-based identification

Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has reached a settlement in a housing discrimination case involving a San Rafael property owner, a property management company, and their agents, who allegedly refused to process a rental application unless prospective tenants submitted U.S.-based identification.

In August 2018, the complainant filed a complaint of housing discrimination, alleging that the property management company discriminated against his family on the basis of national origin by refusing to process a rental application unless the complainant’s wife produced a U.S.-based form of identification such as a U.S. driver’s license, passport, or employment authorization card. The complaint further alleged that the company refused to consider alternative forms of identification. The complainant was represented by Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California.

The parties engaged in voluntary pre-investigation mediation in the DFEH’s Dispute Resolution Division, resulting in a settlement in which the property owner will pay $18,000, change the language of a notice given to rental applicants, attend fair housing trainings, post fair housing posters, and send residents fair housing brochures in English and Spanish.

“DFEH has issued clear guidance that California housing providers may not require U.S.-issued identification from prospective tenants and must accept foreign-issued identification, such as Consular ID cards and passports,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “Routine credit and background checks may be conducted with a name and previous address.”

In April 2018, DFEH issued new fair housing materials in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese addressing common fair housing violations, including issues related to national origin and immigration status. The materials can be viewed and downloaded from the Department’s website.

DFEH attorney mediator Mary Leichliter mediated the case.


The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. CRD’s mission is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.

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