SF Rule Aims for LGBT Tenant Protections Nationwide
San Francisco lawmakers are being asked to adopt a new rule aimed at providing nationwide protections for LGBT tenants.
National developers wishing to build residential projects with 10 or more units in San Francisco would have to disclose if they prohibit LGBT discrimination under a proposal gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos is championing.
According to the ordinance, which Campos plans to introduce Tuesday, March 11 and provided to the Bay Area Reporter this week, developers with projects outside of California would have to list the location of those developments and disclose if they have a national policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for all dwelling units in every property in the U.S. where they have an ownership or management interest.
The policy would apply to the developer’s national company and any investors in their San Francisco projects. The city’s planning department would include the questions on the applications it requires developers for residential or mixed-use residential projects to submit when seeking approval for their building permits.
"We know in San Francisco there are protections we benefit from, but those protections do not exist in the vast majority of states in the rest of the country," said Campos. "I think it appropriate for us when a developer does a project of a certain size and wants to come here, if they own or manage property in other states we find out if they have policies that protect LGBT people."
There is no federal law requiring such protections for LGBT tenants, though in 2012 the Department of Housing and Urban Development did enact a rule protecting LGBT people seeking housing that is financed or insured by HUD from being discriminated against.
According to HUD, 16 states and the District of Columbia ban housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Another five states ban sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing.
The city lacks the legal authority to require housing developers to enact nationwide policies protective of LGBT tenants, said Campos, whose office has been working with housing activists, LGBT rights groups, and the city attorney’s office for months on crafting the ordinance.
Thus, the planning department or planning commission could not automatically deny a housing project because the developer does not have a national policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
"We can’t require they have these policies, but by having this information, we are trying to hold those developers accountable," said Campos. "Since we are not able to do that, there is something to be said for having the information out there."