Discrimination can occur in many circumstances. One of these circumstances is in the real estate leasing process. Fortunately, the federal Fair Housing Act protects tenants in California and across the U.S. from discrimination in the rental process, and it provides guidance to landlords on what their responsibilities are under the Act.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, it is against the law for landlords to discriminate against potential tenants and refuse to rent to them based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability even if the potential tenant is otherwise qualified to rent the premises.
The Fair Housing Act applies to most housing. There are a few, narrow exceptions for owner-occupied premises with a maximum of four units, single-family homes rented by the homeowner without the aid of an agent, and housing run by a private club that limits occupancy or those run by religious organizations.
What does the Fair Housing Act prohibit?
Illegal discrimination can take place during the rental process. Illegal discrimination includes refusing to rent a premises, making housing unavailable, setting different rental terms and lying that housing is unavailable to rent. It is also illegal to advertise the rental of the premises in a way that shows a preference, limitation or is discriminatory. Also, landlords cannot impose different rental charges based on a protected class or use different qualification criteria in the rental process. These are only some examples of a landlord’s obligations under the Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act ensures that renters in California and across the U.S. are given a fair chance to obtain housing free of discrimination. It is important for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. This way the real estate leasing process is fair to all involved.