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Housing Discrimination
Understanding Source of Income Housing Discrimination

Understanding Source of Income Housing Discrimination

Understanding Source of Income Housing Discrimination


Understanding Source of Income Housing Discrimination

Any type of discrimination is difficult to deal with, but this is especially true in the area of housing because our homes are our last sacred place of refuge and security. Although the most common types of complaints for housing discrimination in recent years are generally discrimination on the basis of disability, race, and family status, there is another form of discrimination that occurs often in the Bay Area: income source discrimination.

The Bay Area is a notoriously expensive region. Even with the rental strides made during the Covid-19 crisis, it remains this way. One way to help combat the high rental rates is through the use of government programs that provide housing assistance funds to support lower-income families and individuals living in costly cities like San Francisco and Berkeley. Unfortunately, some program participants are discriminated against merely for using them. However, state and local legislatures recognize this and have laws to help.

State Law Discrimination Protection

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, individuals are protected not only from housing discrimination based on characteristics, including race, national origin, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, familial status, sexual orientation, but also for some sources of income, including using program subsidies. 

The Included Programs

The following list of the applicable housing programs is not an exhaustive list. Here are some of the programs that provide subsidies:

  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
  • HUD-VASH Program
  • Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Programs
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
  • Security deposit assistance programs

San Francisco Law for Income Source Discrimination

The city of San Francisco has its own law that prohibits housing discrimination including on the basis of source of income. Berkeley also specifies source of income as a protected class when it comes to housing discrimination.

Source of Income Discrimination Violations

It is illegal for a landlord or property manager to engage in any of the following actions based only on an individual's source of income or the housing assistance that the individual receives:

  • Advertise or state a preference for tenants with certain sources of income.
  • Refuse an application from a prospective tenant, charge a higher deposit or rent, or treat the prospective tenant or tenant differently in any other way because the prospective or tenant uses a Section 8 voucher or other housing subsidy.
  • Refuse to enter into or renew a lease because the tenant will use a housing subsidy.
  • Interrupt/terminate any tenancy because the tenant is using or plans to use a Section 8 voucher or other housing subsidy.
  • Falsely represent that a unit isn't available for tenancy because the prospective tenant will be using a voucher 8 voucher or other housing subsidy.
  • Require any clause, condition or restriction in the terms of an agreement solely because the tenant will use a Section 8 voucher or other subsidy (except those required by a particular subsidy program).
  • Restrict a tenant's access to facilities or services at the rental property or refuse repairs or improvement to the property associated with the tenancy, because of the use of a Section 8 housing voucher or other subsidies.

Take Action Against Source of Income Discrimination in Housing

If you suspect that you're a victim of housing discrimination because of source of income, you can assert your rights. Get help from an experienced Wolford Wayne tenants' rights attorney who understands this subject area and will be in your corner. Contact us today to learn about what action to take.



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