Overview of unlawful housing practices

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits those engaged in the housing business – landlords, real estate agents, home sellers, builders, mortgage lenders, among others – from discriminating against tenants or homeowners listed in the box “Who is protected?”

It is also illegal for cities, counties, or other local government agencies to make zoning or land-use decisions, or have policies, that discriminate against individuals based on those traits.

Violations of the anti-discrimination law include the following:

  • Refusal to sell, rent, or lease rooms, apartments, condos or houses to protected individuals
  • Refusal to negotiate for the sale, rental, or lease of housing
  • Representation that a housing accommodation is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when it is in fact available
  • Denial of a home loan or homeowner’s insurance
  • Cancellation or termination of a sale or rental agreement
  • Policies, practices, terms, or conditions that result in unequal access to housing or housing-related services
  • Offering inferior terms, conditions, privileges, facilities or services in connection with the housing accommodation
  • Sexual harassment involving unwanted sexual advances or requiring sexual favors for housing rights or privileges
  • Refusal to permit, at a disabled tenant’s expense, reasonable modifications when necessary to accommodate a disability
  • Refusal to make reasonable accommodations in housing rules, policies, practices, or services where necessary to afford a disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling
  • Retaliation against someone filing a complaint
  • Overly restrictive rules limiting the activities of daily life for families with children, including where children are allowed to play

Click for the full Fair Employment and Housing Act.

More information is available on our Resources page.

Who is protected?

California law protects individuals from illegal discrimination by housing providers based on the following:

  • Age
  • Race, color
  • Ancestry, national origin
  • Religion
  • Disability, mental or physical
  • Sex, gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Familial status
  • Source of income

Guidelines for fair housing