Late last month, the city of Oakland, California passed an ordinance prohibiting landlords from asking about a potential tenant’s criminal history or even rejecting them for having a criminal record. As reported by the LA Times, Oakland’s ordinance is “the strictest of its kind in the state, covering both public and private housing.” In addition, the ordinance has exemptions for single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and “in-law” units if the owner resides on the premises. Also exempt are owners of government-subsidized housing (including Section 8 vouchers) which federal law requires the exclusion of certain renters based on criminal records.
“The measure prohibits landlords from rejecting a potential tenant because of his or her prior conviction or from requiring disclosure of a criminal history in background checks. Landlords will have six months to adapt to the law. After that, they could face fines of up to $1,000 for each violation.”