“PREFERABLE ADULTS ONLY”: Spot the Housing Rights Violation in this Apartment Ad for 1324 Jackson

[UPDATE: Turns out I'm not the only one to have been banned from posting comments at the SFAppeal.com. See Comments.]

Boy, I’ll tell you, right before I got banned, for life* from making comments at bloggish non-blog SFAppeal.com back in 2009, I made some comments about how some self-promotional attorneys over there were, ironically, misquoting Da Law. (That might have played a role in Eve Batey** banning me.*) But things are better now, cause they’ve stopped doing that and the one who’s still there, the attorney what discusses housing rights and rent control*** and whatnot actually quotes a certain Civil Code Section properly now. Not that it’s such a big deal, though. (Most people actually like being corrected, even if they later try shoot the messenger or something. Most people.)

Hey, speaking of CA housing rights ‘n stuff, what’s up with this from The Tender?

“PREFERABLE ADULTS ONLY”

Via The Tenderblog

Is that something that your California Department of Consumer Affairs would call unlawful discrimination?

“It is illegal for landlords to discriminate against families with children under 18.”

Just asking, bro.****

In my opinion, putting this kind of preference in a flyer promoting the rental of an apartment is a big no-no, one that can get your patootie sued.

But JMO.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking what if you put in a room-mate ad something about preferring females or “three young women seeking a fourth” kind of thing. I don’t know. I think the thinking at this point in time is that that’s in a different category, but I haven’t checked up on things lately. Back in the day, a woman somewhere in California (I forget exactly where) told a prospective tenant that she “didn’t feel comfortable” with the idea of having a black male room-mate. That ended up getting her in trouble and she ended up having to pay one or two thousand dollars for her transgression.

*FOR LIFE!!!

**What makes her better, in any way, than anybody else, probably dozens in all, who ever contributed to SFist.com over the years? The answer to this query completely escapes me. Oh, she helped you get a job. O.K., well there’s that.

***Competently, at the very least, it would seem. (I mean, I don’t think he’s telling people to travel from Europe to sue a shifty, crafty, somewhat bankrupt defendant in Small Claims, for example.) Now, if you appeal your rent control decision to the full board and your case could go either way, you probably don’t want your representative being on the record calling (all?) landlords “cheeseballs” or whatnot, ’cause that kind of thing could actually affect the vote of the non-tenant, non-landlord member who typically acts as the swing voter. It’s highly unlikely that this would occur, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of sitch, but this kind of thing has happened before at your San Francisco Rent Board, back in the day, back in the early aughts, actually. And raising the idea of renegotiating the rent on a rent-controlled unit without discussing the possible downsides seems reckless to me but oh well. Landlords can be sensitive beings, you know, so it might not be the best idea to nickel-and-dime them when their real estate empire has just gone underwater is all I’m saying. Bro. But the issue of how to handle a rent reduction (which, of course, could be a win-win) was not considered by the authors of San Francisco’s rent control law so it’s not a bad thing for an expert to report on these kinds of things, not at all…

****There are some nuances here, but check out that link and then You Make The Call. All the deets:

35 For example, the landlord may properly require that a prospective tenant have an acceptable credit history and be able to pay the rent and security deposit, and have verifiable credit references and a good history of paying rent on time. (See Portman and Brown, California Tenants’ Rights, pages 104, 106 (NOLO Press 2007).)
36 California Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, Paragraph 2:553.15 (Rutter Group 2009), citing Harris v. Capital Growth Investors XIV (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1142 [278 Cal.Rptr. 614].
37 Government Code Section 12921(b).
38 Government Code Sections 12926(p), 12927(c)(1),(e), 12948, 12955(d); Civil Code Sections 51, 51.2, 55.1(b). See Moskovitz et al., California Landlord-Tenant Practice, Section 2.27 (Cal. Cont. Ed. Bar 2009).
39 Government Code Sections 12926(p), 12927(e), 12955(a),(d). See Fair Employment and Housing Act, Government Code Section 12900 and following; federal Fair Housing Act, 42 United States Code Section 3601 and following.
40 Civil Code Sections 51, 51.2, 53; Harris v. Capital Growth  Investors XIV (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1142 [278 Cal.Rptr. 614].
41 Government Code Section 12955(m), Civil Code Section 51.
42 Government Code Sections 12955(n),(o).
43 Harris v. Capital Growth Investors XIV (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1142 [278 Cal.Rptr. 614].
44 Civil Code Section 1940.3; California Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, Paragraph 2:569.1 (Rutter Group 2009).
45 California Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, Paragraph 2.553 citing Koebke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club (2005) 36 Cal.4th 824 [31 Cal.Rptr.3d 565]. See Civil Code Section 1940.3.
46 42 United States Code Section 3607(b), Civil Code Section 51.3(b)(1). “Housing for senior citizens” also includes: Housing that is provided under any state or federal program that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has determined is specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons (42 United States Code Section 3607(b)); or a housing development that is developed, substantially rehabilitated or substantially renovated for senior citizens and that has the minimum number of dwelling units required by law for the type of area where the housing is located (for example, 150 dwelling units built after January, 1996 in large metropolitan areas) (Civil Code Sections 51.2, 51.3. Government Code Section 12955.9. See Marina Point Ltd. v. Wolfson (1982) 30 Cal.3d 721 [180 Cal.Rptr. 496]). While the law prohibits unlawful age discrimination, housing for homeless youth is both permitted and encouraged. (Government Code Section 11139.3.)
47 Government Code Sections 12927(a)(2)(A), 12955(c).
48 Civil Code Sections 51,51.2, Government Code Section 12948.
49 Government Code Section 12927(c)(2)(B).
50 Government Code Section 12980(b).

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5 Responses to ““PREFERABLE ADULTS ONLY”: Spot the Housing Rights Violation in this Apartment Ad for 1324 Jackson”

  1. right before I got banned, for life* from making comments at bloggish non-blog SFAppeal.com

    Ha! You, too?

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Yes me too. But _you_ might have deserved it, I don’t know.

    I always get Troy McClure mixed up with Lionel Hutz, the cheeseball attorney.

    (Shocking photo of Phil Hartman on the Wiki, didn’t recognize him at first – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_McClure )

  3. humin says:

    I think that shit’s just bad English. It was up at Jackson & Leavenworth where a lot of the buildings are Chinese-owned. Hadn’t even thought about it until you brought it up.

  4. sfcitizen says:

    I hear you, but interpret that as something like “no kids allowed.”

    You can get away with that at a senior citizen development (where I think kids still have the right to visit) but not elsewhere. I don’t think that these people will get into trouble, but it’s bad form….

    Craigslist got sued in Chicago for merely hosting ads that said soemthing like “near St. Anthony’s church,” which was viewed as a veiled “Catholics-only” solicitation, oddly enough…

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-02-09/business/17282020_1_jim-buckmaster-chicago-lawyers-committee-discriminatory-housing

    Anyway, thanks for posting that shot. That’s a shockingly high rent!

  5. I think I ended up un-banned, but yeah, I said on Twitter that their comment system sucked, and got banned.