For California Homeowners and Property Managers Taking New Tenant Applications
Consider Antidiscrimination Laws based on a Renter Source of Income
Are you a homeowner or property manager in California or San Luis Obispo County looking for an update on the newer laws regarding Section 8 tenants? This article may be for you.
Can you Turn Away Section 8 Applicants?
A property owner must accept tenants and tenant applications from those who receive government subsidies if they otherwise qualify as a renter. A landlord cannot refuse to rent to an applicant just because they want to use a Section 8 voucher or other form of subsidy.
What is the change in the law?
California has prohibited source of income discrimination for a some time. In the last few years, it specifically defined source of income to include “verifiable income…paid to a housing owner or landlord on behalf of a tenant, including federal, state, or local public assistance, and federal, state, or local housing subsidies, including, but not limited to, federal housing assistance vouchers issued under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937”
This update to the source of income definition means that a landlord cannot discriminate, harass, limit in advertising the sale or rental to, or change the terms of a rental contract because a person has a Section 8 voucher or other public assistance for housing.
How to Calculate Income
The new laws provide guidance on how to determine a person’s income for qualification purposes when a proposed tenant receives public assistance. The guidance says, when a tenant receives a government rent subsidy, the landlord can only use a financial or income standard that is based on the portion of rent to be paid by the tenant.
For example, if a tenant has “A” amount of income, but pays only “B” amount of rent in light of their subsidy, the landlord cannot use a standard that requires their A income to be 3 times the amount of rent.
If you have specific factual questions about how these laws can impact your calculation of a prospective tenant’s source of income, please feel free to contact attorney Frank Kopcinski at 805-546-8785.
(Cal. Gov. Code § 12955)
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If you have any questions about this article, please contact attorney Frank Kopcinski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at 805-546-8785 for any further questions you may have regarding the Source of Income Discrimination.