In February 2022, a piece of legislation called California Assembly Bill (AB 2383) was introduced to make the owner of rental housing inquiring about – or requiring an candidate for rental housing to disclose – a criminal record during the initial application assessment phase a discriminatory housing practice unless required by state or federal law.
Introduced by California Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-59th District), AB 2383 would permit an owner to request a criminal background check of the candidate and consider an candidate’s criminal record in deciding whether to rent or lease to the candidate after the successful completion of the initial application assessment.
California AB 2383
California AB 2383 would require an owner who is considering denying an application based on the criminal background check to – within five days of receiving the information that is the basis of the possible denial – provide the candidate with a written statement listing the reasons for the possible denial and conviction information before making a decision.
If the candidate provides the owner evidence demonstrating the inaccuracy of the candidate’s criminal record or evidence of rehabilitation within three days of receipt of the written statement of the possible denial, the owner is required to reconsider their decision and provide written notification of their final decision to deny the application.
This bill would prohibit the owner in a rental application from seeking, considering, using, or taking an adverse action based in whole or in part on specified information or occurrences, including arrests that did not result in conviction, convictions that have been voided, and juvenile justice determinations.
The bill would also require an owner to provide an candidate notice in the application and before requesting a criminal background check, and would provide that its provisions do not apply if the rental housing accommodation is a dwelling in which the owner occupies a unit or bedroom as a principal residence.
California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits housing discrimination with respect to race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, veteran or military status, or genetic information.
Existing law provides that, in connection with specified unlawful practices related to housing discrimination, proof of a violation causing a discriminatory effect is shown if an act or failure to act has the effect, regardless of intent, of unlawfully discriminating on the basis of any of the personal characteristics described above, according to the bill.
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