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. If this bill passes, make note to train your staff on the new law.

This stance towards immigration comes as no surprise, as the state Senate adopted 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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About the Author

Author Becky BowerBecky Bower is the Communications Executive here at the Resident Screening Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.


  1. My problem lies in the following section –

    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.”

    I don’t understand how a bill can be passed at all that directs people to ignore the law. This is very disturbing to me. It makes no sense at all. Landlords and employers need to be able to protect themselves, their businesses and their property. We are supposed to have that right in America.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Joanne. There is no denying that we are in the midst of contentious times concerning immigration policy. If you feel strongly for or against any of these proposed laws then our organization highly recommends you make your voice heard by contacting your local representative. You can find your local rep by visiting: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

      Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for our first quarterly update in a couple of weeks that will provide fantastic information regarding legislation from all around the country that has been proposed, updated or passed so far this year.

  2. I see no provision in the proposed AB-291 for landlord’s defense against unscrupulous tenants. California has several laws that contradict the federal. Some I agree with, some I don’t. AB-291 is one of the latter.

  3. It sure looks like the IDIOTS that dream up these very stupid brainstorms should be required to be a landlord for a few years before the stupid idiots try to tell other people how to run their business. What BLOCKHEADS.

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