Understanding the Five Components of the Religious Land Use Act

The California law firm Laquer Urban Clifford & Hodge, LLP represents non-profits in their quest for religious freedom as guaranteed under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). In recognizing that religion-affiliated institutions were often unfairly treated in local building and zoning procedures, Congress passed RLUIPA in 2000.

Since then, lawyers at Laquer Urban Clifford & Hodge, LLP have been able to protect the rights of religious groups against unfair local regulations using the following five stipulations of RLUIPA.

1. Infringement of religious exercise. Religious organizations cannot be denied a place to worship or carry out their core mission.

2. Similar treatment to similar secular organizations. Any religious house of worship must be given the same rights for occupancy as other meeting organizations.

3. Discrimination between religions. All religions must be accorded the same status, whether the permit is for a Christian church, Jewish synagogue, or Muslim mosque.

4. Zoning cannot completely prohibit religious meeting places.

5. Zoning laws cannot limit houses of worship through such strict regulations that the religious organization is unable to reasonably meet requirements.