Rental Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation in California


Are you the victim of rental discrimination because you are LGBT in California? Multiple laws prohibit discrimination against gay people renting residential real estate in California.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) found at Gov.C. section 12920, 12921(b), and 12955, protect gay people from rental discrimination in California. Furthermore, the Unruh Act, found at Civil Code 51(b), also protects gay people from rental discrimination in California.

Under both FEHA and the Unruh Act, sexual orientation means heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.

FEHA Case based on Sexual Orientation Rental Discrimination

In order to have a claim under FEHA for sexual orientation rental discrimination in California, there needs to be evidence showing discrimination in housing discrimination found in Gov.C. 12927(c). The numerous possibilities are beyond the scope of this article and you should contact an attorney to advise you on your particular situation. There may be a FEHA violation by proof of either an intentional act or an unintentional act that has a discriminatory effect.

Unruh Act Case based on Sexual Orientation Rental Discrimination

A gay person who has been discriminated against likely has a claim under the Unruh Act. The discriminatory act needs to be intentional. The Unruh Act prohibits arbitrary discrimination based on sexual orientation. Arbitrary discrimination occurs when landlord’s discrimination is based on an assumption that the prospective tenant has a certain characteristic thought to belong to, for example, gay people. In order words, the landlord is discimination based on gay people as a whole, rather than individually.

Required Elements for Proving a Case of Sexual Orientation Rental Discrimination

The plaintiff (LGBT person who has been discriminated against) needs to show 1) that they belong to a protected class, 2) that the landlord took adverse action against the person, 3) for an Unruh Act, the action by the landlord must be intentional, and for a FEHA case, the action was intentional or has a discriminatory effect, 4) that there is a causal connection between protected group status and the landlord’s adverse rental practice.

Need help with evicting a tenant in California? Contact the Law Office of David Piotrowski for assistance.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction in California.

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