SB 1070 and Fair Housing Laws
Rights and Responsibilities of Residents and Landlords in Preventing Housing Discrimination Based on Race, Color or National Origin in the Wake of the Passage of SB 1070, To Take Effect July 29, 2010.
Some residents and landlords in Arizona may have questions or concerns regarding their rights and obligations under the fair housing laws and the potential impact of SB 1070 on those laws. To help address these concerns, the following is a review of Arizona and federal fair housing laws and answers to some questions related to SB 1070.
The Fair Housing Acts
SB 1070 does not apply to or change the current fair housing laws in any way. The Federal Fair Housing Act and the Arizona Fair Housing Act (the Fair Housing Acts) continue to prohibit discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status in most housing-related transactions. Further, the Fair Housing Acts make it unlawful to indicate any preference or limitation on these bases when advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling.
Tenant Screening Procedures
It also continues to be unlawful to screen housing applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. Although SB 1070 gives law enforcement officials a duty to inquire about a person’s citizenship status under certain circumstances, it provides no legal authority for, nor does it require, landlords and property managers to inquire about a potential or existing tenant’s immigration or citizenship status. SB 1070 also does not require them to report known or suspected undocumented persons to law enforcement authorities. Procedures to screen potential and existing tenants for citizenship and immigration status may violate prohibitions on national origin housing discrimination.
SB 1070’s “Harboring” Provision
SB 1070 states that it is unlawful for a person who is in violation of a criminal offense to “conceal, harbor or shield or attempt to conceal, harbor or shield an alien from detection in any place” in Arizona, including any building or any means of transportation, if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the United States in violation of law. This provision applies only to persons who are already in violation of another criminal offense, and it does not apply to housing providers and property managers who are not in violation of any criminal offense.
Filing a Complaint
If a person feels that his or her rights have been violated, he or she may file a fair housing complaint with the Arizona Civil Rights Division (ACRD) by doing any of the following:
- Complete an online civil rights complaint form
- Call our toll free numbers: 877-491-5742 (Phoenix) or 877-491-5740 (Tucson)
- Write a letter that includes:
- The person’s name and address
- The name and address of the person the complaint is about
- The address of the house or apartment involved
- The date when the incident occurred
- A short description of what happened
Then mail it to:
Arizona Civil Rights Division
Office of the Attorney General
1275 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
ACRD will investigate the complaint at no charge to the complaining person. Any fair housing complaint filed with ACRD will be automatically dual-filed with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pursuant to a cooperative agreement between the two agencies. A person has one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint, but should file as soon as possible if they believe in good faith that a violation has occurred. For more fair housing information, visit www.azag.gov or the website for HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.