California Bill Would Make Asking Rental Candidates about Criminal Records a Discriminatory Practice

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California Bill Would Make Asking Rental Candidates about Criminal Records a Discriminatory Practice

Introduction

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.

About ClearStar

ClearStar helps to protect rental housing properties by offering rental property owners low-cost tenant screening solutions with exceptional turnaround times, instant criminal database and sex offender registry searches, evictions records, and credit report searches. To learn more, please visit www.clearstar.net/tenant-screening/.

ClearStar – a Hanover Investors portfolio company – is a leading provider of Human Capital Integrity℠ technology-based services specializing in background, credit, and medical screening. To learn more about ClearStar, please visit www.clearstar.net. Follow ClearStar on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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    Thomas Ahearn - News Blog Editor and Public Relations Specialist

    Thomas Ahearn is our News Blog Editor and Public Relations Specialist. Our News Blog provides information about the background check industry to employers, HR professionals, recruiters, and consumers. ClearStar's News covers a variety of topics including Ban the Box, credit reports, criminal records, data breaches, drug testing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), E-Verify, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), HR technology, identity theft and fraud, jobs reports, lawsuits involving screening, Millennial workforce, privacy issues, social media background checks, and workplace violence.

    At ClearStar, we are committed to your success. An important part of your employment screening program involves compliance with various laws and regulations, which is why we are providing information regarding screening requirements in certain countries, region, etc. While we are happy to provide you with this information, it is your responsibility to comply with applicable laws and to understand how such information pertains to your employment screening program. The foregoing information is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. ClearStar is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice and this communication does not form an attorney client relationship. The foregoing information is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of a lawyer knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. ClearStar makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, or utility of the information contained in this publication. Legislative, regulatory and case law developments regularly impact on general research and this area is evolving rapidly. ClearStar expressly disclaim any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of the information provided herein.

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