Renting Rooms

Ceridwen and I are not rich.  With Social Security as our only
“for sure” income, affording rent has been a challenge, especially here in California
where there seems to be no legal limit to the amounts Land Lords will charge.
So, since 2009, we have been renting out the two extra bedrooms in our three bedroom
apartment. But we don’t rent to guys. Guys seem to think we will pick up after
them. Or they fail to obey the most reasonable rules, all stuff that’s listed
in the House Mate Agreement (no,it’s not anything like Sheldon Cooper’s version).
All stuff that if neglected could impact how much security deposit you get back.
There’s a clause right up front that states that “TENANT shall deposit with
landlord the sum of $550.00 as a security deposit to secure TENANT’S faithful
performance of all of the terms of this agreement.”

The last time we rented to a guy, who was very meticulous about staying six months but
not so much with anything else listed, we ended up keeping his deposit  He took
us to small claims. The Judge asked him if he knew how to read (he was a student
at Humboldt State). The Judge ruled that our House Mate Agreement was a valid
contract, that the rules therein were reasonable, and he dismissed the case. We
won! That’s one thing. Actually we’ve placed ads outlining exactly what we prefer
in a house mate: Female or LGBTQ; Pagan or Pagan friendly; Liberal/Progressive;
No smoking tobacco; not allergic to cats; and others. Until very very recently
(like this month – January 2019) we’ve gotten away with it too.

You don’t think we should either do you? Well you are very, very wrong. You see
the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction over California (and
Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Washington) ruled
during the summer of 2012 that the Federal Housing Laws regarding discrimination
in housing DO NOT APPLY and were never meant to apply to situations where a Land
Lord was renting out parts of his own dwelling. In other words: room mates. And,
since no other higher Court has ruled against this, the 9th Circuit’s ruling remains
the law of the land, at least in the above mentioned states. But don’t take my
word for it. Google “9th circuit court roommate ads” and you’ll get a ton of information,
like this:

The Washington Post:“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued
an opinion last month rooted in both the Constitution and common sense: It ruled
that people seeking roommates are shielded from fair-housing laws by the First
Amendment’s protection of free association. In so doing, the court upended a
core assumption shared by many fair-housing advocates. Paradoxically, this ruling
was the best outcome for those of us who care about protecting the rights of people
to be free in their choice of housing.”
And that’s just one. You’ll also find
the Court’s own words there as well.

And it all means squat. Craig’s List, and Facebook are for the most part community
moderating. In the case of Craig’s List all someone has to do is “Flag” your ad. If enough
people do it, your ad is taken down  It doesn’t matter what the 9th Circuit said in 2012, and
the same applies, to a lessor degree, to Facebook  The fact is that people aren’t going to
Google anything, they’re stupid and they don’t care. All they know is they don’t like your ad,
so fuck you you’re gone.Now, if I had lots of money I could just take Facebook and/or Craig’s
List to Court. That’s the rub. If I had that kind of money I wouldn’t be renting out my rooms.

Posted 2019-February-17