Fair Housing Rights! A Brief Summary

Fair Housing Rights!
A Brief Summary

What does Fair Housing Mean?

Federal, State, and Local laws prohibit housing discrimination based on the categories listed below. The laws cover housing for rent or sale, advertising, lending, insurance, steering, redlining and hate crimes. Remedies for illegal discrimination include injunctive relief, monetary damages, and penalties. It means that Federal, state, and local laws prohibit discriminate concerning sales and rental of housing based on a person’s protected class including race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, etc. California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

In California, virtually every unit of housing for sale or rent is covered under the fair housing laws. The California, Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) states housing discrimination is illegal based on the same criteria as the federal laws, and include additional criteria such as: marital status

sexual orientation
Mental Disability
Physical Disability (HIV & AIDS included)
Marital Status
Source of Income
Student Status
Arbitrary Reasons
Examples of California Legislation
Rumford Fair Housing Act
In the early 60’s, California assemblyman William Byron Rumford, a democrat, sponsored a fair housing initiative that helped put an end to racial discrimination that “colored” people faced from property owners and landlords. Rumford was the first African American to serve in the state legislature, representing Northern California. In 1963 California passed The Rumford Fair Housing. The Act provided that landlords could not deny people housing because of ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status. What really makes Rumford significant is that his surname has come to serve as the one-word identification of the most bitterly fought issue in the nation's most populous state. California Proposition 14 (1964)

California Proposition 14 was a 1964 ballot proposition that amended the California state constitution, nullifying the Rumford Fair Housing Act. The decision of the California Supreme Court was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Reitman v. Mulkey.

The initiative was to add an amendment to the constitution of California. This amendment would provide, in part, as follows:

“Neither the State nor any subdivision or agency thereof shall deny, limit or abridge, directly or indirectly, the right of any person, who is willing or desires to sell, lease or rent any part or all of his real property, to decline to sell, lease or rent such property to such person or persons as he, in his absolute discretion, chooses.” Following much publicity the proposition gained the endorsement of many large conservative political groups, the initiative proved to be overwhelmingly popular, and was passed by a 65% majority vote in the 1964 California elections. Soon after it was passed, the federal government cut off all housing funds to California. Many also cited this as one of the reasons the 1965 Watts Riots happened, because Proposition 14 gives landlords the right to deny housing based on ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status as they wish. With the federal housing funds cut off and with the support of Pat Brown, Governor at the time, the constitutionality of the measure was challenged shortly afterward. In 1966, the California Supreme Court did not consider whether Proposition 14 was unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection and due process provisions of the California Constitution; alternatively, it held that Proposition 14 violated the equal protection clause of the federal Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Governor Brown's position on the issue proved controversial, and later in 1966, he was defeated by Ronald Reagan in his bid for re-election. However, the case continued. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the California Supreme Court's decision...

References: "Proposition 14". Time Magazine. September 25, 1964. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
Robert O. Self (2003). American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland. p. 168. ISBN 0-691-07026-1.
California Voter’s Pamphlet, General Election, November 5, 1974
Fair Housing Amendments Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601
Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.
64 al. 2d 529 (1966)
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