NYC May Keep Landlords from Doing Criminal Checks on Applications
There have been a lot of changes to rental laws in New York State since COVID-19 and this one seems to be one of the most extreme to date.
This bill, which was originally proposed in 2020, would effectively ban all landlords from doing a criminal background check as part of an application for an apartment. The overall goal of this new bill would be to reduce the potential of housing discrimination against people based on their arrest or criminal history.
New York City Bill Int 2047-2020 would prohibit housing discrimination in rentals, sales, leases, subleases, or occupancy agreements in New York City, all based upon an arrest record or criminal history. The bill has 28 co-sponsors in the New York City Council and has generated some serious debate.
According to the language in the bill:
Landlords, owners, agents, employees, and real estate brokers would be prohibited from obtaining criminal record information at any stage in the process. These entities would be able to take adverse actions against current occupants for reasons other than a person’s arrest record or criminal history, as long as they are complying with laws protecting victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking. Where federal, state, or local laws, rules or regulations require exclusion based on criminal history or require a criminal background check for eligibility, this section does not apply. This section also does not prohibit inquiries into the NY sex offender registry, but requires that the landlord, owner, agents and brokers provide the applicant written notice about the inquiry, and a reasonable amount of time, not more than 3 days, to withdraw the application. The bill also outlines a fair housing process for applicants to dispute an adverse action based on arrest record or criminal history. This bill does not apply to two-family owner-occupied housing or rooms in owner-occupied housing. Covered entities would not be liable under other laws for complying with this law.
-NYC Bill Int 2047-2020
You can find out more info about this bill here on the NYC Council website.
There has been a lot of opinions for and against this potential new law. What do you think? Should landlords be allowed to run criminal background checks on tenants, or not?