Reminder: ‘No Section 8’ ads are against the law

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The California Apartment Association is reminding its members that it’s against California law to include “No Section 8” or similar verbiage in advertisements for rental housing.  

As of Jan. 1, Senate Bill 329 prohibits landlords from rejecting a prospective tenant solely based on the applicant’s use of a Section 8 federal housing voucher. The law also bans advertisements that say voucher-holders won’t be considered for tenancy. The legislation applies to apartment and single-family home rentals.

The California Apartment Association has been educating the rental housing industry about SB 329 for months. Efforts have included publishing articles about the legislation at caanet.org and in its newsletter, creating an Industry Insight compliance paper on the new law, and explaining SB 329’s new anti-discrimination policies in the association’s 2020 New Laws webinar.   

Although some owners are still running “No Section 8” ads, violations are becoming less frequent as more landlords hear from CAA about SB 329.  

Earlier this month, CAA’s Debra Carlton found a number of “No Section 8” listings online. When she contacted the owners, she got a positive response.  

“Every single person said, ‘I’m taking it off right now. I wasn’t aware’ or ‘I overlooked it,’” said Carlton, CAA’s executive vice president of public affairs. “We are a little more than three weeks into the new year. It’s not surprising that some owners are not aware of the new law. CAA will continue to do its part to educate the industry.” 

CAA also has asked companies that publish rental housing ads – such as Zillow and Craigslist – to issue notices that “No Section 8″ listings now run afoul of California law.  

In the end, though, it’s the responsibility of property owners to follow SB 329.  

If a prospective tenant files a discrimination suit over a SB 329 violation, it’s the landlord, not the digital advertising platform, who can be held liable.  

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