13.31.020 Discrimination based on source of income prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person offering for rent or lease, renting, leasing, or listing any housing accommodation, or any authorized agent or employee of such person, to do or attempt to do any of the following:

A.    Refuse to rent or lease a housing accommodation, or access to or use of the common areas and facilities of the housing accommodation, serve a notice of termination of tenancy, commence an unlawful detainer action, or otherwise deny to or withhold from any person or persons, a housing accommodation on the basis of source of income;

B.    Represent to any person, on the basis of source of income, that a housing accommodation is not available for inspection or rental when such housing accommodation is in fact available for inspection or rental, or to require different terms for such transactions on the basis of source of income;

C.    Make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, sign, advertisement, application, or contract with regard to a housing accommodation offered by that person that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination with respect to source of income; or

D.    To use a financial or income standard for rental housing that:

1.    Privileges income earned directly by the tenant or prospective tenant, or rental payments made directly by the tenant or prospective tenant over housing assistance.

2.    Discounts or discriminates against housing assistance payments.

3.    Fails to account for the aggregate income of persons residing together or proposing to reside together or an aggregate income of tenants or prospective tenants and their cosigners or proposed cosigners on the same basis as the aggregate income of married persons residing together or proposing to reside together.

E.    Criminal penalty.

1.     Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding six months, or both.

F.    Civil liability.

1.    Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter or who aids in the violation of any provisions of this chapter is liable for, and the court must award to the individual whose rights are violated, three times the amount of special and general damages, or, in the case of unlawful discrimination in the rental of a unit, three times the amount of one month’s rent that the landlord charges for the unit in question. The court may award in addition thereto not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) but not more than four hundred dollars ($400.00), together with attorney’s fees, costs of action, and punitive damages. Civil actions filed pursuant to this section must be filed within one year of the alleged violations.

2.    Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or who aids in the violation of any provision of this chapter shall be liable for a separate civil action for each provision of this chapter that he or she violates, and for each instance in which he or she violates a provision of this chapter.

G.    Civil Injunction.

1.    Any person who commits, or proposes to commit, an act in violation of this chapter may be enjoined therefrom by any court of competent jurisdiction.

2.    An action for injunction under this section may be brought by any aggrieved person, by county counsel, the district attorney, or by any person or entity which will fairly and adequately represent the interests of the protected class.

H.    Severability.

If any part or provision of this Chapter, or the application of this Chapter to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this Chapter, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected by such a holding and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the provisions of this Chapter are severable.

I.    No Conflict with State or Federal law.

Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted or applied so as to create any requirement, power, or duty in conflict with any federal or state law. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to permit any rental or occupancy of any dwelling unit or commercial space otherwise prohibited by law.

J.    Definitions.

1.    The word "person" as used in this chapter means any individual, firm, corporation, or other organization or group of persons however organized.

2.    "Source of income" includes any lawful source of income or rental assistance from any Federal, State, local or non-profit-administered benefit or subsidy program including, but not limited to, the Section 8 voucher program. (Ord. 7568-NS § 2 (part), 2017)