As the country continues to deal with Covid-19, there is not one aspect of our lives that remains untouched by the impact of the virus. Housing is no exception. In fact, certain types of housing discrimination and harassment have increased during the pandemic, and some tenants may be especially vulnerable during this time.
Under California law (Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Unruh Act) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), tenants are protected from being discriminated by landlords when the tenants fall into categories or "protected classes." California prohibits discrimination against a tenant based on the following characteristics:
Because some people inaccurately associate Asian countries (especially China), with a role in generating and spreading the coronavirus, it has led to increased reports of discrimination and hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans. Much of the mistreatment has involved refusal of services. This attitude can easily affect housing situations and can lead to discrimination. For instance, it is obviously unlawful for a landlord to refuse to make a necessary repair due to their fear of entering a tenant's apartment because the renter is Chinese, and the landlord is afraid of contracting the coronavirus.
The pandemic has caused a lot of worry and tension. Consequently, there are more accommodation requests from tenants with disabilities, wanting to have a support animal to help them cope with anxiety. Typically, landlords are required to make an exception to a no pets policy for support animals. A landlord who refuses such a request is discriminating against the renter based on their disability, unless the accommodation is unreasonable. It is considered unreasonable if the accommodation creates an undue financial or administrative burden on the landlord or fundamentally alters the nature of the housing. For example, if the animal is a dog who is untamed and poses a threat to other people.
San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other cities in the Bay Area have their own laws governing discrimination that have more extensive protections than the federal Fair Housing Act and the California laws. These laws encompass more categories of characteristics, including age.
The Covid-19 crisis has been very impactful for senior citizens. Older people are at a higher risk for developing complications. Seniors are also more vulnerable to from the virus, as compared to their younger counterparts. The elderly has more association with the Covid-19 which can lead to the perception that they have it or have been exposed. A landlord may feel more comfortable asking seniors more invasive questions, such as inquiring about whether they have Covid-19 and if they have been tested.
Discrimination is not only hurtful and humiliating, but it can also be difficult to prove. If you believe you're experiencing housing discrimination, get in touch with a tenants' rights lawyer today. At Wolford Wayne, we will hold your landlord responsible for their wrongdoing. Contact us today so we can assist you with the next steps.
Recovered on behalf of a group of 30 tenants living in an SRO in San Francisco who were living with horrendous conditions in their rent controlled apartments, including rodents, bedbugs, mold, water leaks and harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three families living in a building in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood who were forced to live with substandard conditions for years as a result of their landlord’s negligence, including issues with lack of heat, lack of hot water and cockroach/rat infestations.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a couple living in a rent-controlled home in the outer Sunset neighborhood. Our clients were forced to vacate after the landlord served them with an Owner Move-In Eviction Notice. After the landlords failed to move into the property, our clients filed suit for wrongful eviction.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant in Russian Hill. Tenant was forced to vacate her illegal apartment in retaliation for reporting unlawful rent increases to the San Francisco Rent Board.Read More
Recovered for a single long-term tenant in San Francisco. Our client was forced to move out of his apartment as a result of extreme landlord harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three long-term tenants in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood who were constructively evicted due to noise and nuisance conditions created by their downstairs neighbors, which the owner refused to address.Read More
Recovered on behalf of elderly, disabled tenant who was forced to move out of her rent-controlled San Francisco apartment of 50 years after landlord/owner failed to resolve numerous building code violations that remained outstanding for over a decade.Read More
Recovered on behalf of seven tenants living in a makeshift boarding house in East Palo Alto.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two former San Francisco tenants who were evicted via an Owner Move-In Eviction and owner failed to occupy the unit as her primary place of residence.Read More
Recovered on behalf of an elderly long-term tenant who was forced to vacate her long San Francisco apartment as a result of her landlord’s refusal to address longstanding defective conditions, including lack of heat, mold, rodent infestations, and defective plumbing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant who was forced to vacate his home as a result of ongoing, disruptive construction and the owners’ refusal to provide him with alternative housing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco family that was constructively evicted from their home in the Richmond District as a result of unlawful rent increases, defective conditions and tenant harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a tenant living in an illegal “in-law” unit. In this case, a new owner purchased the building and then demolished our client’s unit without permits while she was displaced for seismic retrofitting.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two long term San Francisco tenants who were fraudulently evicted from their home of over twenty years under the pretext of an owner move-in eviction.Read More
Recovered for tenant who was injured when their stairway railing collapsed at the tenant’s Mission District apartment building.Read More
Recovered in action for a group of tenants forced to vacate their San Francisco apartment house due to severe habitability defects including mold and water leaks.Read More
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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.