California Bans Discrimination Based on Military or Veteran Status

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a series of bills to protect tenants from housing discrimination, eviction, and price gouging.

Key among the new legislation is SB 222, which bans housing discrimination on account of military or veteran status under the state’s fair housing law. In addition, by defining a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher as a source of income for purposes of the Employment and Housing Act, the bill prohibits landlords from discriminating against a tenant on the basis that the tenant pays part or all of the rent using a VASH voucher.

Other measures signed into law include:

  • SB 644, which lowers the amount that a landlord can charge service members for a security deposit on residential rental housing;
  • SB 329, which prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants who rely upon housing assistance paid directly to landlords, such as a Section 8 voucher, to help them pay rent; and
  • AB 1482, which establishes a 5 percent annual rent cap, plus inflation, coupled with just-cause protections.

“About a third of California renters pay more than half of their income to rent and are one emergency away from losing their housing,” Newsom said in a statement. “One essential tool to combating this crisis is protecting renters from price-gouging and evictions. The bills signed into law today are among the strongest in the nation to protect tenants and support working families.”

This year, Fair Housing Coach marks Veterans Day by reviewing the federal, state, and local laws protecting military servicemembers, veterans, and their families from discrimination. The November 2019 lesson, “Complying with Laws Protecting Veterans & Military Servicemembers,” is available to subscribers here.