City and County of San Francisco v. Post

Facts: A city’s ordinance prohibits landlords from discriminating against Section 8 tenants. Meanwhile, Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protections are expanded to include a tenant’s source of income, which does not include government rent subsidies. A landlord posts advertisements for rental units, stipulating the landlord will not rent to Section 8 tenants.

Claim: The city seeks to prohibit the landlord from discriminating against Section 8 tenants, claiming the landlord violated the city ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on a tenant’s source of income since considering Section 8 participation constitutes income-based discrimination.

Counterclaim: The landlord seeks to continue rejecting Section 8 tenants, claiming FEHA, whose narrow definition for source of income does not include Section 8 rent subsidies, preempts the city ordinance since FEHA’s preemption clause indicates FEHA controls over local ordinances covering the same housing discrimination.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the landlord cannot continue declining to rent to Section 8 tenants as FEHA does not preempt the city’s local ordinance since FEHA’s narrow statutory language does not cover the same broader protections provided by the city ordinance. [City and County of San Francisco v. Post (April 11, 2018)_CA5th_]

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