New Tenant Protection Law


By Fair Housing Center of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, INC.

By Fair Housing Center of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, INC.

The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects every person in the United States from discrimination, regardless of immigration status. The FHA prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings based national origin and other protected classes.  National origin discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently in housing because of where they came from (ancestry, birthplace, culture, or language). Sometimes procedures to screen potential and existing tenants for citizenship and immigration status may violate the FHA’s prohibition on national origin discrimination if this procedure is not applied to all potential renters.

California now offers additional protections to immigrant tenants.

California lawmakers recently moved to strengthen state law protections to immigrant tenants.  AB 291, or the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, prevents landlords from reporting or threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities.

Tenants must disclose private information to their landlords during the application process: social security numbers, workplace information, and the names of their family members.  While the majority of landlords are law abiding, some landlords use their knowledge of a tenant’s undocumented status to avoid their legal obligations. Statewide there have been reports of landlords threatening to call immigration authorities when a tenant complains about much- needed repairs or a tenant’s undocumented status is used as leverage when a landlord wants to evict tenants and their families. This law prevents landlords from disclosing a tenant’s immigration status and prohibits landlords from threatening, or making threats, to report tenants to immigration authorities.

AB 291 will take effect on January 1, 2018.

For More Information please call:

The Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

(844) 449-3500 / TTY (877) 735-2929 /

The Legal Aid Society of San Diego Inc. offices are accessible to persons with disabilities.

This publication is funded in whole or in part with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the San Diego Urban County, which is compromised of the unincorporated area of San Diego County, as well as the cities of Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway and Solana Beach.