April is Fair Housing Month, so I will be writing a few articles on how Federal and California fair housing laws apply to landlords, real estate brokers, property managers and other real estate professionals who lease property. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits unlawful discrimination based upon a tenant or potential tenant’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. California has its own version, known as the Unruh Civil Rights Act found in Civil Code Section 51¬†et seq.

The Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based upon sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition. Further, California also has the Fair Employment and Housing Act found in Government Code Section 12900 et seq. The Fair Employment and Housing Act is much broader than the Federal Fair Housing Act or the Unruh Civil Rights Act. It prohibits discrimination based upon the following:

  • Age (40 and over)
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Religious Creed (including religious dress and grooming practices)
  • Denial of Family and Medical Care Leave
  • Disability (mental and physical) including HIV and AIDS
  • Marital Status
  • Medical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics)
  • Genetic Information
  • Military and Veteran Status
  • National Origin (including langauge use restrictions)
  • Race
  • Sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding¬†and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding)
  • Gender, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression
  • Sexual Orientation

Further posts will highlight some of these categories and what constitutes discrimination. It is important for all real estate professionals, brokers, landlords, and property managers to understand fair housing laws and apply them in their course of business.