The State Bar of California

Dear California Landlords

Woo Law Group

I am writing to address a critical issue that has been a pervasive problem in our state, which is discriminatory behavior towards people who receive Section 8 housing vouchers.

As you may know, Section 8 is a federal program designed to assist low-income families in affording safe and decent housing. The program provides rental assistance to eligible families, which they can use to pay a portion of their monthly rent to landlords who participate in the program. Unfortunately, despite the program’s vital role in helping families, many landlords have been reluctant to participate in the program, fearing that it may negatively impact their business.

I want to remind you that it is illegal under California law to discriminate against prospective tenants based on their source of income, which includes Section 8 vouchers. This means that landlords cannot refuse to rent to someone solely because they receive Section 8 assistance. Such discriminatory behavior is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

As a landlord, you have the right to screen tenants based on their credit history, criminal record, and rental history, but you cannot use a person’s Section 8 status as a basis for denying their application. Doing so is not only illegal but also goes against the spirit of the Fair Housing Act, which aims to promote equal opportunity and access to housing for all individuals.

I urge you to reconsider your stance on Section 8 and to participate in the program as a way of helping low-income families secure safe and decent housing. By doing so, you not only fulfill your legal obligations as a landlord but also contribute to the betterment of our communities by providing affordable housing to those in need.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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