Religion can be a touchy subject for many people. There are many faiths and belief systems in our little world and in order to co-exist peacefully, we first need to understand and accept that not everyone believes what we believe.
Before I get started, I would like to mention that our office contains people from multiple faiths and different spiritual beliefs. I do not intend to single out any particular religion or type of individual within this post. I will use one example about a Christian landlord, but that is simply because it is the most common example we see. And now on with the post.
Religious discrimination is all too common. We here at Rent Hello and Off-Campus Housing 101 see it all the time while reviewing listings. Most of the ones we have to decline say something along the lines of:
Looking for a Christian tenant to stay in my Christian home.
While it’s nice to be around people who share your beliefs, it is also against the law to discriminate against people of other belief systems. As we referenced in a previous Common Landlord Faux Pas post, here is what the California Tenancy Act (as well as other states and provinces) has to say:
However, the owner cannot make oral or written statements, or use notices or advertisements which indicate any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or disability. further, the owner cannot discriminate on the basis of medical condition or age.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, 70.6% of individuals living in the United States of America are some form of Christian. This includes, but is not limited to: Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, Historically Black Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox Christian, and Jehovah’s Witness. That’s a lot of Christians. However, there’s still another 29.4% to account for. Almost 30% of the United States is a lot of people to discriminate against. As of 2015, there were 321.4 million people living in the U.S.. 30% of that accounts for 96.4 million people. This 29.4% come are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, people who don’t follow any particular faith, people who follow a traditional Indigenous faith, or people who follow one of the many other world religions.
Personally, I find it enriching to know people from other faiths and belief systems. I may not believe what they believe, but I am always open to learning more about the rest of the world and the vast amount of spiritual and religious faiths within it. Why would I deprive myself of learning more by cutting that out of my life?
The bottom line is that restricting which tenants may rent from you by what they believe is discrimination and is against the law.
As before, I am providing below the links to a few different Tenancy Acts.