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NYC invoice stopping landlords from performing felony background checks backed by majority of council

A controversial invoice might cease New York Metropolis landlords from performing felony background checks. The invoice is now backed by greater than half of the New York Metropolis Council. 

The “Truthful Likelihood for Housing Act” goals to cease housing discrimination in leases, gross sales, and leases based mostly off somebody’s arrest document or felony historical past. These usually are not simply petty crimes. The invoice would permit folks convicted of homicide and different severe crimes to maneuver proper into the constructing, with no background verify.

In line with the Lease Stabilization Affiliation, which represents hundreds of landlords within the metropolis, this invoice helps criminals not New Yorkers.

“By eliminating that felony background verify, you could be utterly blindsided by who you permit into the constructing,” says RSA Vice President Vito Signorile.

Brownstone apartment houses in Manhattan, New York, United States, on October 22, 2022.

Brownstone condominium homes in Manhattan, New York, United States, on October 22, 2022. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto through Getty Pictures)


Landlords like Kennisha Gilbert are combating towards the invoice. Gilbert was attacked by certainly one of her tenants final yr after she referred to as the police to report a resident for animal abuse. She is apprehensive this invoice might put non-public landlords at much more in danger.

“They need to be sure that they don’t seem to be residing subsequent door to anyone who’s been convicted of a number of murders, arson, rape, pedophilia and even hate crimes,” says Signorile.

The New York Metropolis Housing Authority complexes would nonetheless do background checks as a result of these are required by federal legislation. Additionally, landlords might nonetheless verify the New York intercourse offender registry however nothing is talked about about out-of-state registries.

Fire escape stairs at SoHo, Lower Manhattan in New York, United States, on October 24, 2022. 

Hearth escape stairs at SoHo, Decrease Manhattan in New York, United States, on October 24, 2022.  (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto through Getty Pictures)

The Fortune Society, which is a New York Metropolis-based non-profit group that gives help to the previously incarcerated, factors to massive numbers of individuals with felony histories already residing within the metropolis and that simply because somebody has a felony historical past doesn’t imply they won’t be an excellent tenant.


“Over 700,000 folks in New York Metropolis have conviction information, which is about 11% of the grownup inhabitants. So, there are folks proper now which are residing in folks’s numerous areas and their neighbors which have convictions and histories for which individuals don’t know about,” says Andre Ward, the affiliate vice chairman for public coverage at Fortune Society

View from Jersey City to Manhattan in New York City, United States on October 21, 2022. 

View from Jersey Metropolis to Manhattan in New York Metropolis, United States on October 21, 2022.  (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto through Getty Pictures)

There are a minimum of two states and some cities which have some type of honest probability housing legal guidelines. Together with Colorado, New Jersey, Seattle and San Francisco.

Mayor Eric Adams is reportedly anticipated to signal this invoice. His workplace tells Fox Information, “Nobody must be denied housing as a result of they have been as soon as engaged with the felony justice system, plain and easy.”


That is the second invoice like this in New York Metropolis. Final yr, the opposite model didn’t go. 

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