California LGBT Housing Discrimination Attorney

We help put the ‘fair’ back in ‘fair fight.’

Landlords, building owners, realtors, and home owners have a legal responsibility to be fair when offering housing for sale or rent. They may deny housing to someone who they believe cannot pay the rent, but no property owner has a right to deny someone housing because of:

  • Race, ethnicity, and national origin
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sex and gender identity (transgenderism)
  • Religious affiliation
  • Marital status
  • Disability (including HIV/AIDS)
  • Pregnancy
  • Height and/or weight (in San Francisco)

The Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental and housing sale decisions based on sexual orientation, gender identity and, HIV/AIDS status. Not only does this cover apartment complexes and townhomes, it also covers assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and nursing homes that discriminate against senior LGBT couples.

The Unruh Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people from discrimination in business establishments, including public accommodations like B&Bs, hotels, and even homeless shelters.

Despite these legal protections, discrimination does occur.

If you have been the victim of housing discrimination, take careful notes of all interactions with the discriminatory party. Note when you spoke with the landlord or property owner and what was said. A successful housing discrimination lawsuit will require that we prove the property owner denied housing for an illegal reason, and not because they think you can’t pay the rent.

San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Tenant Rights Attorney

Lead trial lawyer Christopher Dolan achieved a $435,000 settlement for a man who was denied an apartment because he had AIDS.

The Dolan Law Firm achieved a $420,000 settlement for a client when a landlord refused to rent after he determined that our client had HIV and was gay.

At The Dolan Law Firm, we take incidents of LGBT housing discrimination very seriously. We have represented numerous LGBT individuals and couples in cases where they were denied equal access to housing.

California LGBT housing discrimination attorney Christopher Dolan, the founding member of The Dolan Law Firm, has been designated as a “California Super Lawyer” for five consecutive years. He was California Consumer Attorney of the Year and has been repeatedly nominated as the San Francisco Trial Lawyer of the Year. He has received an AV-Preeminent in the Martindale-Hubbell peer-review rating system for “highest legal ability” and ethical skill.*

Our firm can help you enforce the laws that give gay and lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals and families equal rights in housing. Contact the skilled housing rights lawyers at The Dolan Law Firm.

Investigating and Testing LGBT Housing Discrimination

If you suspect a landlord was lying to you when he or she said, “It’s already rented,” you may want to have a straight friend apply for the same housing unit. This type of “testing” is often done to determine if an owner’s stated reason for refusing to rent — that the unit is already rented — is false.

In San Francisco, San Jose, and the Peninsula, Project Sentinel will conduct testing investigation of discriminatory housing practices. If you discover that the apartment “just happens to be available” after all, you may very well have a case.

Potential Damages

If you were unlawfully denied housing because you are a member of the LGBT community or because of your HIV/AIDS status, you may be entitled to recover for economic and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are emotional distress such as feelings of humiliation, grief, fear, and anxiety. Economic loses can include being forced to pay more rent in another location than you would have paid if you could have rented that place. The discriminatory landlord, realtor or home seller could also be subject to punitive damages.

Pre-Filing Requirements

You must file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the date of the occurrence of discrimination. Our firm can help you file your complaint form.

Contact Our San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Tenant Rights Lawyers

To schedule a free evaluation of your case with one of our San Francisco housing discrimination attorneys, contact The Dolan Law Firm. We work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that you pay no fees or costs upfront. If we obtain a recovery on your behalf, we receive a percentage of any recovery we obtain for you. No recovery, no fee.

*”AV® Preeminent ™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.” Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.