Proposed NYC Bill Prohibits Landlords from Conducting Background Checks

A proposed bill prohibiting New York City landlords from conducting criminal background checks on prospective tenants appears to be on track to become law.

The “Fair Chance for Housing Act,” or Intro. 632, has the support of at least 30 of the 51 city council members, while Mayor Eric Adams (D) has signaled a willingness to sign the bill.

“No one should be denied housing because they were once engaged with the criminal justice system, plain and simple,” said Adam’s spokesman Charles Lutvack via the New York Post. “We will work closely with our partners in the City Council to ensure this bill has maximum intended impact.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams is seen at a press conference in Times Square on October 11, 2022, in New York City. (Raymond Hall/GC Images)

According to a summary of Intro. 632, the “bill would prohibit housing discrimination in rentals, sales, leases, subleases, or occupancy agreements in New York City, on the basis of arrest record or criminal history.”

“Landlords, owners, agents, employees, and real estate brokers would be prohibited from obtaining criminal record information at any stage in the process,” the summary adds.

The bill was introduced by Councilman Keith Powers (D-Manhattan) and cosponsored by Speaker Adrienne Adams.

A similar version of this bill was proposed in 2020 but ultimately did not pass after it received backlash from landlord advocacy groups. The Post noted that the legislation is gaining support this time around due to newly elected council members.

Similar to the previous version of the bill, the current version is receiving fierce opposition from critics who say it protects criminals instead of law-abiding landowners.

“Murdered someone? Beat up your girlfriend? Robbed? Stabbed your neighbor? No problem. Come live among us!” tweeted Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn). “Tell the @NYCCouncil to vote NO!”

Vernikov also released a video accompanying the tweet, saying, “Make no mistake. If this bill passes, the safety of your families, your children, your grandparents, your grandchildren is at stake.” 

The first public hearing for the bill will go before the Council’s Committee on Civil Rights on December 8.

The bill comes at a time when crime in Big Apple has skyrocketed by over 27 percent since this time last year, according to NYPD crime statistics.

Furthermore, the state’s cashless bail law has allowed dozens of accused criminals to roam free in the streets, despite the potential danger they pose to residents.

Breitbart News reported earlier this year that data from January 2020 to January 2021 reveals that more than four in ten suspects freed from jail by New York’s cashless bail law are later rearrested for other crimes.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.

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