All About California’s New Housing Immigration Bill, AB 291

By Becky Bower

A California bill that would prohibit landlords and property managers from inquiring into the immigration or citizenship status of a rental applicant or tenant was proposed early February. Introduced by David Chiu (D-San Franciso), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) and Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), with the principle co-author Senator Wiener, AB 291 would make the immigration or citizen status of any person irrelevant towards the issue of housing liability.

AB 291 prohibits landlords or property managers from serving a notice to quit the property or from initiating an unlawful detainer action based on the immigration or citizenship status (or perceived immigration or citizenship status) of the tenant. The bill also authorizes a tenant to assert, in defense in an unlawful detainer action, that the landlord or property manager violated this provision.

Landlords and property management companies are prohibited from threatening to disclose the immigration or citizenship status of the tenants in order to influence them into vacating the property. If passed, you will also be prohibited from disclosing the tenant’s immigration or citizenship status to “any immigration authority, law enforcement agency, or local, state, or federal agency.” AB 291 prohibits landlords and property managers from reporting them or associated individuals to immigration authorities, serving a notice to cure or a notice to quit based on perceived immigration status or citizenship status, or threatening to do any of those acts within 180 days of the occurrence of specified events. This bill ultimately declares that the immigration or citizenship status of any person is irrelevant to any issue of liability.

This stance towards immigration comes as no surprise, as the state Senate adopting a resolution on March 6th that called upon federal agents to stop enforcing immigration laws in schools, hospitals, churches, and marches. Los Angeles Police Chief, Charlie Beck, has also stated that the LAPD does not intend to “work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts.” Regardless if AB291 passes or not, make sure the tenant screening provider you’re using scans all of your rental applicants through the terrorist watch list (OFAC) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

What do you think of this proposed California legislation? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe!




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7 thoughts on “All About California’s New Housing Immigration Bill, AB 291

  1. Blog Visitor Common Sense says:

    I am a legal immigrant who has a rental property. I am sympathetic to those who have over the years become part of our community, and have continued to make lives with uncertainty of a future without documentation. But these types of bills are what are causing the huge schisms in our country. This bill is plan nuts. I would likely not rent to someone who did not have a job that required documentation, or without proof of SSN. These laws will make it incredibly more harder to find housing for the people they claim to want to help.

    If these lawmakers think they are in the right, then they should allow state and city employment without documentation as well. Likely run afoul of federal laws.

    • Blog Visitor Becky Bower says:

      Thank you for your insightful comment. This legislation certainly puts landlords in a difficult position. However, I believe you still have a right to uphold your rental requirements. As long as your rental requirements (like proof of SSN or employment documentation) are being held to all your applicants, there is no discrimination case.

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