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This October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will make it illegal to reject a prospective tenant 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. Unfortunately, the legislatures efforts would be better spent encouraging the construction of new housing inventory rather than restricting the rights of landlords, which further discourages new development and perpetuates the housing shortage. There are valid reasons for not wanting to be subject to government bureaucracy, and forcing landlords to “consider” entering into a government contract under threat of discrimination claims is an overreach by the government.

Landlords should proceed with care and seek experienced legal counsel before accepting or rejecting Section 8 applicants.