2009 California Government Code - Section 12955-12956.2 :: Article 2. Housing Discrimination

GOVERNMENT CODE
SECTION 12955-12956.2

12955.  It shall be unlawful:
   (a) For the owner of any housing accommodation to discriminate
against or harass any person because of the race, color, religion,
sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry,
familial status, source of income, or disability of that person.
   (b) For the owner of any housing accommodation to make or to cause
to be made any written or oral inquiry concerning the race, color,
religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin,
ancestry, familial status, or disability of any person seeking to
purchase, rent or lease any housing accommodation.
   (c) For any person to make, print, or publish, or cause to be
made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement,
with respect to the sale or rental of a housing accommodation that
indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on
race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status,
national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or
disability or an intention to make that preference, limitation, or
discrimination.
   (d) For any person subject to the provisions of Section 51 of the
Civil Code, as that section applies to housing accommodations, to
discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, sexual
orientation, color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin,
familial status, marital status, disability, source of income, or on
any other basis prohibited by that section.
   (e) For any person, bank, mortgage company or other financial
institution that provides financial assistance for the purchase,
organization, or construction of any housing accommodation to
discriminate against any person or group of persons because of the
race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status,
national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or
disability in the terms, conditions, or privileges relating to the
obtaining or use of that financial assistance.
   (f) For any owner of housing accommodations to harass, evict, or
otherwise discriminate against any person in the sale or rental of
housing accommodations when the owner's dominant purpose is
retaliation against a person who has opposed practices unlawful under
this section, informed law enforcement agencies of practices
believed unlawful under this section, has testified or assisted in
any proceeding under this part, or has aided or encouraged a person
to exercise or enjoy the rights secured by this part. Nothing herein
is intended to cause or permit the delay of an unlawful detainer
action.
   (g) For any person to aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce the
doing of any of the acts or practices declared unlawful in this
section, or to attempt to do so.
   (h) For any person, for profit, to induce any person to sell or
rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or
prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a
particular race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital
status, ancestry, disability, source of income, familial status, or
national origin.
   (i) For any person or other organization or entity whose business
involves real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any
person in making available a transaction, or in the terms and
conditions of a transaction, because of race, color, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, source
of income, familial status, or disability.
   (j) To deny a person access to, or membership or participation in,
a multiple listing service, real estate brokerage organization, or
other service because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual
orientation, marital status, ancestry, disability, familial status,
source of income, or national origin.
   (k) To otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling based on
discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual
orientation, familial status, source of income, disability, or
national origin.
   (l) To discriminate through public or private land use practices,
decisions, and authorizations because of race, color, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability,
national origin, source of income, or ancestry. Discrimination
includes, but is not limited to, restrictive covenants, zoning laws,
denials of use permits, and other actions authorized under the
Planning and Zoning Law (Title 7 (commencing with Section 65000)),
that make housing opportunities unavailable.
   Discrimination under this subdivision also includes the existence
of a restrictive covenant, regardless of whether accompanied by a
statement that the restrictive covenant is repealed or void. This
paragraph shall become operative on January 1, 2001.
   (m) As used in this section, "race, color, religion, sex, sexual
orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial
status, source of income, or disability" includes a perception that
the person has any of those characteristics or that the person is
associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of
those characteristics.
   (n) To use a financial or income standard in the rental of housing
that fails to account for the aggregate income of persons residing
together or proposing to reside together on the same basis as the
aggregate income of married persons residing together or proposing to
reside together.
   (o) In instances where there is a government rent subsidy, to use
a financial or income standard in assessing eligibility for the
rental of housing that is not based on the portion of the rent to be
paid by the tenant.
   (p) (1) For the purposes of this section, "source of income" means
lawful, verifiable income paid directly to a tenant or paid to a
representative of a tenant. For the purposes of this section, a
landlord is not considered a representative of a tenant.
   (2) For the purposes of this section, it shall not constitute
discrimination based on source of income to make a written or oral
inquiry concerning the level or source of income.

12955.1.  (a) For purposes of Section 12955, "discrimination"
includes, but is not limited to, a failure to design and construct a
covered multifamily dwelling in a manner that allows access to, and
use by, disabled persons by providing, at a minimum, the following
features:
   (1) All covered multifamily dwellings shall have at least one
building entrance on an accessible route, unless it is impracticable
to do so because of the terrain or unusual characteristics of the
site. The burden of establishing impracticability because of terrain
or unusual site characteristics is on the person or persons who
designed or constructed the housing facility.
   (2) All covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on
an accessible route shall be designed and constructed in a manner
that complies with all of the following:
   (A) The public and common areas are readily accessible to and
usable by persons with disabilities.
   (B) All the doors designed to allow passage into and within all
premises are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in
wheelchairs.
   (C) All premises within covered multifamily dwelling units contain
the following features of adaptable design:
   (i) An accessible route into and through the covered dwelling
unit.
   (ii) Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other
environmental controls in accessible locations.
   (iii) Reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation
of grab bars around the toilet, tub, shower stall, and shower seat,
where those facilities are provided.
   (iv) Useable kitchens and bathrooms so that an individual in a
wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
   (b) (1) For purposes of Section 12955, "discrimination" includes,
but is not limited to, a failure to design and construct 10 percent
of the multistory dwelling units in buildings without an elevator
that consist of at least four condominium dwelling units or at least
three rental apartment dwelling units in a manner that incorporates
an accessible route to the primary entry level entrance and that
meets the requirements of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) with
respect to the ground floor, at least one bathroom on the primary
entry level and the public and common areas. Any fraction thereof
shall be rounded up to the next whole number. For purposes of this
subdivision, "elevator" does not include an elevator that serves only
the first ground floor or any nonresidential area. In multistory
dwelling units in these buildings without elevators, the "primary
entry level entrance" means the principal entrance through which most
people enter the dwelling unit, as designated by the California
Building Standards Code or, if not designated by California Building
Standards Code, by the building official. To determine the total
number of multistory dwelling units subject to this subdivision, all
multistory dwelling units in the buildings subject to this
subdivision on a site shall be considered collectively. This
subdivision shall not be construed to require an elevator within an
individual multistory dwelling unit or within a building subject to
this subdivision. This subdivision shall apply only to multistory
dwelling units in a building subject to this subdivision for which an
application for a construction permit is submitted on or after July
1, 2005.
   (2) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the Division of the State
Architect and the Department of Housing and Community Development may
adopt regulations to clarify, interpret, or implement this
subdivision, if either of them deem it necessary and appropriate.
   (c) Notwithstanding Section 12935, regulations adopting building
standards necessary to implement, interpret, or make specific the
provisions of this section shall be developed by the Division of the
State Architect for public housing and by the Department of Housing
and Community Development for all other residential occupancies, and
shall be adopted pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section
18935) of Part 2.5 of the Health and Safety Code. Prior to the
effective date of regulations adopted pursuant to this subdivision,
existing federal accessibility standards that provide, to persons
with disabilities, greater protections than existing state
accessibility regulations shall apply. After regulations pursuant to
this subdivision become effective, particular state regulations shall
apply if they provide, to persons with disabilities, the same
protections as, or greater protections than, the federal standards.
If particular federal regulations provide greater protections than
state regulations, then those federal standards shall apply. If the
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development determines
that any portion of the state regulations are not equivalent to the
federal standards, the federal standards shall, as to those portions,
apply to the design and construction of covered multifamily
dwellings until the state regulations are brought into compliance
with the federal standards. The appropriate state agency shall
provide notice pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter
5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 5 of Division 3 of Title 2)
of that determination.
   (d) In investigating discrimination complaints, the department
shall apply the building standards contained in the California
Building Standards Code to determine whether a covered multifamily
dwelling is designed and constructed for access to and use by
disabled persons in accordance with this section.
   (e) The building standard requirements for persons with
disabilities imposed by this section shall meet or exceed the
requirements under the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988
(P.L. 100-430) and its implementing regulations (24 C.F.R. 100.1 et
seq.) and the existing state law building standards contained in the
California Building Standards Code.

12955.1.1.  For purposes of Section 12955.1, the following
definitions shall apply:
   (a) "Covered multifamily dwellings" means both of the following:
   (1) Buildings that consist of at least four condominium dwelling
units or at least three rental apartment dwelling units if the
buildings have at least one elevator. For purposes of this
definition, dwelling units within a single structure separated by
firewalls do not constitute separate buildings.
   (2) The ground floor dwelling units in buildings that consist of
at least four condominium dwelling units or at least three rental
apartment dwelling units if the buildings do not have an elevator.
For purposes of this definition, dwelling units within a single
structure separated by firewalls do not constitute separate
buildings.
   (b) "Multistory dwelling unit" means a condominium dwelling unit
or rental apartment with finished living space on one floor and the
floor immediately above or below it or, if applicable, the floors
immediately above and below it.

12955.2.  For purposes of this part, "familial status" means one or
more individuals under 18 years of age who reside with a parent,
another person with care and legal custody of that individual, a
person who has been given care and custody of that individual by a
state or local governmental agency that is responsible for the
welfare of children, or the designee of that parent or other person
with legal custody of any individual under 18 years of age by written
consent of the parent or designated custodian. The protections
afforded by this part against discrimination on the basis of familial
status also apply to any individual who is pregnant , who is in the
process of securing legal custody of any individual under 18 years of
age, or who is in the process of being given care and custody of any
individual under 18 years of age by a state or local governmental
agency responsible for the welfare of children.

12955.3.  For purposes of this part, "disability" includes, but is
not limited to, any physical or mental disability as defined in
Section 12926.

12955.4.  Nothing in this part shall prohibit a religious
organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or
organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in
conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society,
from limiting the sale, rental, or occupancy of dwellings that it
owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of
the same religion or from giving preference to those persons, unless
membership in that religion is restricted on account of race, color,
or national origin.

12955.5.  Nothing in this part shall preclude the government from
establishing programs to collect information relating to
discriminatory housing practices.

12955.6.  Nothing in this part shall be construed to afford to the
classes protected under this part, fewer rights or remedies than the
federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-430) and its
implementing regulations (24 C.F.R. 100.1 et seq.), or state law
relating to fair employment and housing as it existed prior to the
effective date of this section. Any state law that purports to
require or permit any action that would be an unlawful practice under
this part shall to that extent be invalid. This part may be
construed to afford greater rights and remedies to an aggrieved
person than those afforded by federal law and other state laws.

12955.7.  It shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or
interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on
account of that person having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of
that person having aided or encouraged any other person in the
exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by Section
12955 or 12955.1.

12955.8.  For purposes of this article, in connection with unlawful
practices:
   (a) Proof of an intentional violation of this article includes,
but is not limited to, an act or failure to act that is otherwise
covered by this part, that demonstrates an intent to discriminate in
any manner in violation of this part. A person intends to
discriminate if race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation,
familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, or
ancestry is a motivating factor in committing a discriminatory
housing practice even though other factors may have also motivated
the practice. An intent to discriminate may be established by direct
or circumstantial evidence.
   (b) Proof of a violation causing a discriminatory effect is shown
if an act or failure to act that is otherwise covered by this part,
and that has the effect, regardless of intent, of unlawfully
discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual
orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, national
origin, or ancestry. A business establishment whose action or
inaction has an unintended discriminatory effect shall not be
considered to have committed an unlawful housing practice in
violation of this part if the business establishment can establish
that the action or inaction is necessary to the operation of the
business and effectively carries out the significant business need it
is alleged to serve. In cases that do not involve a business
establishment, the person whose action or inaction has an unintended
discriminatory effect shall not be considered to have committed an
unlawful housing practice in violation of this part if the person can
establish that the action or inaction is necessary to achieve an
important purpose sufficiently compelling to override the
discriminatory effect and effectively carries out the purpose it is
alleged to serve.
   (1) Any determination of a violation pursuant to this subdivision
shall consider whether or not there are feasible alternatives that
would equally well or better accomplish the purpose advanced with a
less discriminatory effect.
   (2) For purposes of this subdivision, the term "business
establishment" shall have the same meaning as in Section 51 of the
Civil Code.

12955.9.  (a) The provisions of this part relating to discrimination
on the basis of familial status shall not apply to housing for older
persons.
   (b) As used in this section, "housing for older persons" means any
of the following:
   (1) Housing provided under any state or federal program that the
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development determines is specifically
designed and operated to assist elderly persons, as defined in the
state or federal program.
   (2) Housing that meets the standards for senior housing in
Sections 51.2, 51.3, and 51.4 of the Civil Code, except to the extent
that those standards violate the prohibition of familial status
discrimination in the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988
(P.L. 100-430) and implementing regulations.
   (3) Mobilehome parks that meet the standards for "housing for
older persons" as defined in the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act
of 1988 and implementing regulations.
   (c) For purposes of this section, the burden of proof shall be on
the owner to prove that the housing qualifies as housing for older
persons.

12956.  Upon notice that a verified complaint against it has been
filed under this part, any owner of housing accommodations shall
maintain and preserve any and all rental records or any other written
materials relevant to the complaint, until the complaint is fully
and finally disposed of and all appeals or related proceedings
terminated.

12956.1.  (a) As used in this section, "association," "governing
documents," and "declaration" have the same meanings as set forth in
Section 1351 of the Civil Code.
   (b) (1) A county recorder, title insurance company, escrow
company, real estate broker, real estate agent, or association that
provides a copy of a declaration, governing document, or deed to any
person shall place a cover page or stamp on the first page of the
previously recorded document or documents stating, in at least
14-point boldface type, the following:
   "If this document contains any restriction based on race, color,
religion, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status,
disability, national origin, source of income as defined in
subdivision (p) of Section 12955, or ancestry, that restriction
violates state and federal fair housing laws and is void, and may be
removed pursuant to Section 12956.2 of the Government Code. Lawful
restrictions under state and federal law on the age of occupants in
senior housing or housing for older persons shall not be construed as
restrictions based on familial status."
   (2) The requirements set forth in paragraph (1) shall not apply to
documents being submitted for recordation to a county recorder.
   (c) Any person who records a document for the express purpose of
adding a racially restrictive covenant is guilty of a misdemeanor.
The county recorder shall not incur any liability for recording the
document. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a prosecution
for a violation of this subdivision shall commence within three years
after the discovery of the recording of the document.

12956.2.  (a) A person who holds an ownership interest of record in
property that he or she believes is the subject of an unlawfully
restrictive covenant in violation of subdivision (l) of Section 12955
may record a document titled Restrictive Covenant Modification. The
county recorder may choose to waive the fee prescribed for recording
and indexing instruments pursuant to Section 27361 in the case of the
modification document provided for in this section. The modification
document shall include a complete copy of the original document
containing the unlawfully restrictive language with the unlawfully
restrictive language stricken.
   (b) Before recording the modification document, the county
recorder shall submit the modification document and the original
document to the county counsel who shall determine whether the
original document contains an unlawful restriction based on race,
color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, marital
status, disability, national origin, source of income as defined in
subdivision (p) of Section 12955, or ancestry. The county counsel
shall return the documents and inform the county recorder of its
determination. The county recorder shall refuse to record the
modification document if the county counsel finds that the original
document does not contain an unlawful restriction as specified in
this paragraph.
   (c) The modification document shall be indexed in the same manner
as the original document being modified. It shall contain a recording
reference to the original document in the form of a book and page or
instrument number, and date of the recording.
   (d) Subject to covenants, conditions, and restrictions that were
recorded after the recording of the original document that contains
the unlawfully restrictive language and subject to covenants,
conditions, and restrictions that will be recorded after the
Restrictive Covenant Modification, the restrictions in the
Restrictive Covenant Modification, once recorded, are the only
restrictions having effect on the property. The effective date of the
terms and conditions of the modification document shall be the same
as the effective date of the original document.
   (e) The county recorder shall make available to the public
Restrictive Covenant Modification forms.
   (f) If the holder of an ownership interest of record in property
causes to be recorded a modified document pursuant to this section
that contains modifications not authorized by this section, the
county recorder shall not incur liability for recording the document.
The liability that may result from the unauthorized recordation is
the sole responsibility of the holder of the ownership interest of
record who caused the modified recordation.
   (g) This section does not apply to persons holding an ownership
interest in property that is part of a common interest development as
defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1351 of the Civil Code if the
board of directors of that common interest development is subject to
the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 1352.5 of the Civil
Code.


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