As per California Government Code, section 12955, it's illegal to discriminate housing accommodation based on the source of income.

However, what about the occupation itself? For example, is it possible to have an apartment complex dedicated to those in the field of engineering? Or where all occupants are engaged in (unrelated) technical startups?

  • Maybe the alternative side to a Q or A is whether a space (club?) can be created for certain pursuits (like a trade-class of labor).... and can such business offer residency to its members? Can housing be a perk? Jun 21, 2015 at 18:34
  • @NewAlexandria That feels like it'd be a zoning issue. As in, is this a hackerspace, or a residence? And, if it's not a residence, then assumedly people living there will need to have somewhere else listed as a primary residence. Disclaimer: I have no legal background, it just seems to me like the kind of issue that would arise. Jun 22, 2015 at 19:58
  • I've since talked with someone who has legal experience, and learned that the Club, in this case, would have the same issue with protected classes being involved in membership. Even Sigma Xi (and engineering society, does not limit membership based on scholastic degree). Maybe a hacker living collective could use a invitation-only vote-in policy, but not restrict to an occupational class. (but probably still filtering many people) Jun 22, 2015 at 20:19
  • Well, I think the intent of the legislature might matter here. I would think that examples of the source of income is supposed to be employment, unemployment, freelancing/contracting, pension, inheritance. E.g., something that's fundamentally somewhat out of control of the applicant, whilst at the same time, prejudice aside, posing no real different to the landlord whatsoever.
    – cnst
    Jun 22, 2015 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


The Code defines "Source of income" as:

lawful, verifiable income paid directly to a tenant or paid to a representative of a tenant.

There's nothing to suggest that the occupation is a relevant consideration otherwise. What it would mean is that if the occupation of a person is relevant to their source of income, it would be illegal to discriminate on that basis.

I would consider occupation distinct from source of income - I could (but don't) have a family trust that is my source of income, and my occupation is volunteer work. My occupation is very clearly not my source of income.

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