Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a bill that will make it illegal to reject a prospective tenant solely based on the applicant’s use of a Section 8 federal housing voucher. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, SB 329 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, will ban blanket policies against taking Section 8 applicants and require landlords to treat voucher-holders like any other applicant. The law also will prohibit “No Section 8” advertisements.

Sen. Holly Mitchell

Throughout the legislative process, Mitchell repeatedly stated that owners will retain the ability to reject voucher-holders after giving them a fair vetting. The senator, however, refused to include this assurance in her bill, despite requests from the California Apartment Association.

CAA continues to support voluntary acceptance of Section 8 but opposed SB 329 over concerns it would removes an owner’s ability to choose whether to take vouchers.

CAA has concerns that landlords who reject Section 8 applicants, even after giving them fair consideration, will face legal challenges. Litigation may become particularly likely if the rejected voucher holder is the only applicant for a unit.