I am undocumented. Can my landlord report me (or threaten to report me) to immigration authorities?
In general, no. In 2017, California passed the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, a landmark bill preventing landlords from reporting — or threatening to report — their tenants’ immigration status to authorities as either a means of harassment or to force an eviction. The Act, a response to an increase in ICE raids and evictions in immigrant communities under President Donald Trump’s administration, provides undocumented renters with several important protections (see “Know Your Rights” box below). But note: the Act does not prevent landlords from reporting or using a tenant’s immigration status when complying with specific federal housing programs that offer rental assistance to low-income tenants.
Know Your Rights As An undocumented TENANT
- Landlords are NOT permitted to ask about your immigration status on a rental application;Landlords are NOT permitted to ask about your immigration status at any time in the rental process;You are NOT required to tell your landlord about your immigration status at any time in the rental process; Your landlord CANNOT threaten to tell authorities about your immigration status in order to force you out of your house, retaliate against you, or harass you.Your landlord CANNOT evict you for not having a valid Social Security Number or state-issued ID card;If your landlord discloses or threatens to disclose your immigration status, you have the right to sue for 6 to 12 times the monthly rent.
IMPORTANT: If you feel your landlord has violated your rights under the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, contact a housing lawyer IMMEDIATELY. See Appendix A, PG. 1128 for a list of referrals.
AB 291: Housing: Immigration (Oct. 5, 2017), available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB291. See also Washington Post, “Calif. Lawmakers approve bill protecting undocumented immigrant tenants from landlord harassment” (Sept. 19, 2017), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2017/09/19/calif-lawmakers-approve-bill-protecting-undocumented-immigrant-tenants-from-landlord-harassment/?utm_term=.a05b8270ea21. ↑
Sacramento Bee, “Rent increases, evictions up in immigrant communities under Trump, housing lawyers say” (Jul. 10, 2017), available at http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article160239609.html. ↑
See Cal. Civ. Code § 1942.(k); Cal. Code of Civ. Pro. § 1161.4(a) and (d). ↑
Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.35(b)(1). ↑