Effective January 1st, California Community Associations and Managers Face New Fair Housing Regulations

It’s taken almost two years of hearings, comments, and modifications, but California’s new regulations aimed at curbing housing discrimination have been finalized and approved.

“As far as we can tell, these are the first detailed state fair housing regulations in the country,” says Kelly Richardson, a principal with Richardson Ober DeNichilo PC, a California law firm known for community association expertise.

Richardson stresses that the housing regulations, which take effect Jan. 1, 2020, apply to both community associations and managers. “That’s not new, but managers need to know that they can’t just say they were following the instructions of the association.”

Two areas of the regulations in particular are ripe with risk for managers caught unaware.

“I think the most significant new aspect is the requirement that housing providers respond reasonably to protect residents from harassment based on a protected class,” Richardson says. “It’s not a new development, but I think it’s a bit of a shock for boards and managers that for years have tried to stayed out of neighbor-to-neighbor disputes.”

As Richardson notes, housing providers already were subject to a 2016 regulation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It makes them liable in certain circumstances for harassment committed by third parties, including owners (and vendors), when it was based on a protected characteristic under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) — meaning race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability.

Importantly, the new regulations’ protections extend much farther than those of the FHA.

To learn why the state regulations’ prohibition is broader, and about another critical provision, read our new article California Adopts Fair Housing Regulations.

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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