WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO
Current law prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants for reasons such as race, disability and source of income. SB 329 would expand the definition of “source of income” to ban landlords from discriminating against people who receive federal Section 8 housing vouchers.
WHO SUPPORTS IT?
Affordable housing advocates, public interest law organizations and several cities and counties that have already passed similar bans back the measure by Senator Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat They say the bill will make the Section 8 program a more effective tool against the state’s affordable housing crisis.
Most major apartment, realtor and housing associations argue that landlords are justified in rejecting Section 8 tenants because of the red-tape involved in working with housing agencies, which can cause costly vacancies. Among the opposition: the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors.
WHY IT MATTERS
Low-income Californians often wait for years to qualify for Section 8 vouchers. If and when they do, they face a severe shortage of rental units that accept the housing assistance. The legislation wouldn’t bar landlords from denying Section 8 tenants for standard reasons, such as poor credit or rental history, but it would prohibit blanket rejections. If Newsom signs the bill, the multitude of rental ads that say “No Section 8” would become illegal overnight. A dozen other states have passed similar bans.
Newsom signed SB 329 on Oct. 8, 2019, as part of a package of tenant bills he described as the “strongest renter protections in the country.”