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California Close to Adding ‘Source of Income’ as Newest Housing Discrimination Protection

SB 329 would require landlords to consider applicants with Section 8 vouchers

By Evan Symon, September 4, 2019 6:09 pm

Section 8 housing vouchers can become one step closer to being a source of income for housing applicants if Senate Bill 329 passes the final Assembly vote

Currently under California law, Section 8  and similar vouchers for housing are not protected as a type of income. Unlike a regular source of income, which cannot be discriminated against under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), government assistance is not covered. This is due to the law only protecting a source of income that is “verified as paid directly to a tenant or paid to a representative of a tenant.”

State Senator Holly Mitchell (Ray Sotero – Office Of Holly Mitchell)

Under SB 329, which was introduced by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and co-authored by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), the wording would be changed to “verifiable income paid directly to a tenant, or paid to a housing owner or landlord on behalf of a tenant, including federal, state, or local public assistance and housing subsidies, as specified.”

The new language under the FEHA for discrimination will also now read “For the owner of any housing accommodation to discriminate against or harass any person because of the race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, or genetic information of that person.

Sen. Mitchell and other supporters of including ‘source of income,’ solidified that their reasoning behind the bill was to give more people housing in places where they otherwise couldn’t.

“This bill makes it clear that landlords cannot reject a tenant solely based on the fact that their rent is partially paid for by the government,” said Sen. Mitchell during Senate debate. “Across our state, Californians receiving housing assistance are struggling to use it effectively because of blanket policies of landlords who refuse to accept it. At the same time, local governments are increasingly turning to housing assistance as a way of shielding tenants from high housing costs and preventing homelessness.”

Daniel Cruz, a housing advocate in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles agreed, telling California Globe, “We’ve seen this way too much. We actually have lists of landlords here where they say no to people who have little beyond government help. It IS discrimination. They think they’re automatically going to be bad tenants.”

It should be noted, that in the bill, other restrictions still apply for housing applicants under the new law, including the use of credit checks to find the viability of a potential tenant.

On the other side of the issue are developers and landlords. The California Association of Realtors have said that SB 329 would essentially force landlords to accept Section 8. Opponents have also pointed out that this is another attempt at imposing rent control. Realtor and landlord groups have pointed to SB 329 being created shortly after the defeat of Proposition 10 in 2018, which would have imposed rent control laws in California. Prop 10 lost by a 60-40 margin in the statewide election, which the same groups have said prove that a majority of Californians don’t want more housing restrictions.

 AB 1482, which would set a 5 percent cap plus inflation each year for rent hikes, is currently also rising through both houses. It’s currently on track to be passed by next Friday due to wide support in both houses and with the blessing of Governor Gavin Newsom thanks to a compromise he made on the bills’ language. SB 329 would be the dual threat. It would open up more long-term affordable housing to more people, but would leave realtors and landlords in a bind over the loss of potential profits over higher utilities and taxes as well as forcing them to accept a program most do not want or need.

Evan Symon

Evan V. Symon is the Senior Editor for the California Globe. Prior to the Globe, he reported for the Pasadena Independent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and was head of the Personal Experiences section at Cracked. He can be reached at evan@californiaglobe.com.
Evan Symon
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5 thoughts on “California Close to Adding ‘Source of Income’ as Newest Housing Discrimination Protection

  1. If this law passes, I may as well sell my rental property. I recently inherited a house where there were bad tenants living in it with a property management company who “managed” the house were just allowing them to be. I had my then property management company evict them for non payment of rent, and I had to forgive several 1000’s of dollars in back rent PLUS return their security deposit to get them out by the end of the month. Prior to these bad tenants moving in, the property management company placed them in my late fiance’s house despite having a poor credit score of 500’s if that and the house was in a GOOD neighborhood. Once they were out, thankfully there wasn’t too much damage though I saw stab marks at the master bathroom door with one of the stab marks going through all the way. In addition, I had to pay about another $500 worth of back utilities.

    I fired that property “management” company for allowing bad tenants to continue living in my house, not paying full rent plus causing multiple disturbances in the neighborhood. That and I had to eat 1000’s of dollars which is money I don’t have a lot of. I’ve hired another company who has been a breath of fresh air so we’ll see.

    If landlords are forced to accept tenants with poor credit, no proof of income, and Section 8, you’ll see a ton of rentals going up for sale. I will never, EVER deal with another such tenant again and will never put myself in that situation. It’s my house and I have the right to decide who can live in it. If the Commiefornia government is dictating I have to rent to these people even if they don’t have the income to pay, then I’m selling. This would be one less house available on the rental market amongst many more to follow.

  2. You work HARD, get educated, and then GET A DECENT JOB!!!! THEN, live where you earn a right to live. Don’t bring that &^%$ into nice area’s. Looks like the typical one-sided “hand-out” as usual. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU on WELFARE, you stay where you can afford to bring your roaches and nasty people that come along with it. THis will never be met with anything but hostility, moron!!!

    1. excuse me ass hole im not trash just a single woman that has disabilities and just survived breast cancer and treatment i have no one to share bills with and i am offended to read your comment, your a nasty person if thats how you really think, although i understand that with housing vouchers comes some and i mean SOME individuals that bring mayham, not all do and you might try a little human compassion ass hole. And your ADVISOR name should be worthlessloser.

  3. i have been waiting for my section eight for six years, when i call there office to see where im at on the list, they tell me they dont do that which i know is BS, i called USDA in frisco i was told to call and ask where i was on the list, but the sec 8 office would not do it. So is this another ploy to help the illegals, i wish i knew where to call or write to, to get an answer. Also there suppose to follow the list no matter what, well i have proof that someone i gave an application to after i applied was given there sec 8 before me, if thats not breaking the rules, i dont know what to do when if when ever comes i get my sec 8 because there is no housing to rent, i want to take mine out of california i havent been able to learn if thats possible, they give you so many days to us it then you lose it. hows that going to work and its taking far longer than anyone i know that waited for there voucher, generally 4 yrs as i said its been six yrs for me so far.

  4. Wow! Such ignorance in this post. I am a college student with good credit and great rental history. Me having a section 8 voucher would help so much with me finishing school and provide for my children unassisted in the near future. Would never damage someone else’s property and risk getting a judgment or eviction and screwing up my credit. This law will hopefully help me with finding a decent home until I can purchase my own. Also if everyone decides to up and sell their homes I’m sure the values would decrease… simple supply and demand theory… Also, anyone who thinks well what if they lose their voucher, almost any reason one would lose their voucher would also be grounds for legal eviction so…

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