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.
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.