DFEH Launches Enforcement Action Against Discriminatory “No Section 8” Housing Advertisements
February 3, 2020
For Immediate Release
DFEH investigation finds over 50 listings in Sacramento County refusing to rent to tenants with Section 8 vouchers
Sacramento – The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced today an enforcement action targeting discriminatory housing advertisements in Sacramento County. Over a tenday period in January, DFEH found
5 separate rental listings in Sacramento County containing discriminatory statements refusing to rent to prospective tenants with government housing subsidies.
On January 1, 2020, SB 329 (Mitchell) went into effect, making it unlawful for housing providers to turn away tenants who hold government housing assistance vouchers, including programs like Section 8. Government housing subsidies are now considered a protected “source of income” under California’s fair housing laws. Advertisements for the sale or rental of housing accommodations that indicate a preference or limitation based on source of income are unlawful.
“The point of the law is to ensure all housing applicants with Section 8 and other housing assistance vouchers receive a fair vetting from housing providers,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “Advertisements that exclude voucher holders from applying for housing are unlawful and must be taken down.”
DFEH sent letters to the housing providersthat posted the unlawful listings warning them that they must take immediate action to comply with California law, and warning them that their failure to comply with the law could result in civil penalties, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees, among other consequences. Additionally, DFEH published a Frequently Asked Questions document for housing providers on how to comply with the new law. DFEH will target other counties for the same enforcement action in the coming weeks and encourages individuals who encounter discriminatory advertisements or who believe they have been denied housing because they hold government vouchers to file complaints with the Department.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.
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