Recently, The California State Legislature introduced a new bill which seeks to amend §12955 of the Government Code, to include a criminal record as a basis upon which housing discrimination is prohibited. For purposes of the bill, a criminal record includes a record pertaining to a criminal conviction, an arrest that did not result in a conviction, and a detention that did not result in a conviction.
Under current California law, it is unlawful for a landlord, managing agent, real estate broker, or salesperson to deny a rental unit, discriminate or harass a person because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to them, as well as gender and perception of gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or disability. If this bill passes, convicted criminals would be included in this list as a protected class.
Background checks are used to provide an objective look into the character of an applicant and how their past transgressions may factor into their future actions. A criminal background check identifies whether or not an individual displays patterns of behavior that potentially put a company, individual or community at risk by renting a property to the applicant.
AB 396 would negate the type of information that is invaluable to the rental industry regarding applicants who pose a potential risk. In order to protect your residents and community, contact your local assembly person and tell them to vote NO on AB 396. California State Assembly Members can be located by visiting: http://assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers.