New Law Governing Use of Criminal History in Tenant Screening Could…

Tenant Background Checks include Credit Reports, Eviction Reports, Criminal Background Checks and Leasing Recommendation

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Tenant Screening USA

The change in law in Oakland is a seismic shift in tenant screening. Eliminating the use of criminal records may ultimately become contentious. Now is the time to work with a professional tenant screening agency.

A new law in Oakland California banning the use of criminal history records in the tenant screening process may represent a substantial shift in how tenants are vetted. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of opines: “A law such as the one in Oakland should immediately alert all landlords and property managers to ensure their screening process is current with law and a best practice is to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as This approach can greatly assist in staying current with new laws and, potentially, significant laws.”

The new Oakland law governing the use of criminal background records in tenant screening is significant.

From on January 21, 2020:

Oakland has moved to become the first city in the state to ban landlords from investigating the criminal history of renters applying for both public and private housing.

The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, which the City Council passed unanimously Tuesday evening, will prohibit landlords from rejecting a potential tenant because of a prior criminal conviction. Landlords will not be allowed to ask about an applicant’s criminal history or require the applicant to disclose it through a criminal background check. (1)

Almeida adds: “This law in Oakland could spread across the country and landlords and/or property managers should be prepared for this or any other significant change by working with a third-party tenant screening agency.”

From on January 23, 2020:

Landlords in other cities should pay attention: John Jones III, director for the campaign in favor of the Fair Chance ordinance, says he plans to begin drives for similar protections in other cities. Measures are brewing in Berkeley and Emeryville. (2)

With the new law there are some limitations as to which type of rental unit are affected.

From the website of the San Francisco Chronicle on January 21, 2020:

Some rental units will be exempt from the ordinance, including accessory dwelling units, single-family homes, duplexes and triplexes. Accessory dwelling units include backyard and secondary units. But those units are excluded only if they are owner-occupied. Additionally, landlords can still review the state’s sex offender list when examining a housing application. (3)

Almeida concludes: “The change in law in Oakland is a seismic shift in tenant screening. Eliminating the use of criminal records may ultimately become contentious. Again, a best practice remains working with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency in order to stay compliant with existing and new laws governing tenant screening. provides full-service tenant screening for landlords and property managers of any size and can greatly assist in remaining fully compliant with all existing law governing tenant screening. With a highly trained and experienced staff, can provide help to landlords and property managers with all their tenant screening needs.


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