Question: My wife and I have been turned down for a home we tried to rent. Our credit is good, our references are excellent -- but I'm a lawyer. The landlord told me she won't rent to lawyers, because she's found them to be hard to deal with. Is this illegal?
Answer: The landlord you're dealing with has made a categorical decision that anyone in the legal profession is going to pose an unacceptable risk as a tenant. It appears that she has not made her decision based on anything in your history. This is known legally as an arbitrary decision. Is arbitrary discrimination illegal in the housing context? It depends on where you live. Under federal fair-housing law, discrimination based on one's race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, disability and sex is illegal, but the federal scheme does not extend the ban to discrimination based on arbitrary distinctions. California, however, does prohibit such discrimination.