I follow a blog for real estate investors, Biggerpockets.com. Today, it had an article 8 Myths about Section 8, Corrected: Here’s the Profitable Truth. Landlords often have many questions about renting to tenants who received Section 8 subsidies. The basics of a Section 8 tenancy are that a tenant and the landlord enter into a rental agreement, and the local housing authority pays the landlord a certain amount of subsidy for that rent directly to the landlord. Thus, there are actually two contracts: (1) the rental agreement between the landlord and tenant and (2) the agreement between the housing authority and the landlord.
Can a Landlord Intentionally State “I do not accept Section 8 tenants?”
The basic answer to this question is yes. A landlord is not required to accept a tenant who receives a Section 8 subsidy. Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers fame brought this issue to the California Court of Appeals. In Sabi v. Sterling, the California Court of Appeals found that a landlord could intentionally refuse to rent to tenants who received Section 8 subsidies. Sabi v. Sterling (2010) 183 Cal. App. 4th 916. This case found that a landlord does not violate the Fair Employment and Housing Act or the Unruh Civil Rights Act by refusing to rent to a tenant who has a Section 8 voucher.
Although this is the legal reasoning behind refusing to rent to Section 8 tenancies, a landlord still cannot refuse to rent to a tenant for a discriminatory reason. Further, a landlord may want to read the article from Biggerpockets to see some of the reasons you may want to rent to Section 8 tenants.