Ban the Box Regulations in Berkeley Housing Market Could Be a First Step in Widespread Change; Opines TenantScreeningUSA.com

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Ban the Box laws are pervasive across the country and are designed to decrease and/or eliminate discrimination in hiring; and now the City of Berkeley is looking to implement similar laws in housing. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines: “Berkeley’s move to implement Ban-the-Box type legislation in the housing market is a significant change, one that should alert landlords and/or property managers across the country to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as TenantScreeningUSA.com, in order to remain fully compliant with federal, state, and local law.”

Tenant Background Checks Include Credit Reports, Credit Score, Criminal Background Checks, Eviction Record Checks and Leasing Recommendations.

Tenant Screening USA

Along with recent changes in tenant screening in Seattle and Minneapolis, potential changes in Berkeley could further change how the tenant application process is managed.

Berkeley, California looks to become a leader in the housing regulations with the implementation of Ban-the-Box type laws that would eliminate the question of criminal history on a tenant application. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines: “Along with recent changes in tenant screening in Seattle and Minneapolis, potential changes in Berkeley could further change how the tenant application process is managed.”

Over the past few years Ban-the-Box laws in the workplace have changed how applications are managed. With a Ban-the-Box law employers no longer can ask about criminal history on the application and where and when a criminal history can be reviewed has become vastly more complex.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “The question about criminal history has been radically altered within Ban-the-Box. It eliminates the question from the application, changes when the question can be asked, and, in some cases, limits whether a question about criminal history can be asked based on the position.”

From Berkeleyside.com (Nov. 12, 19):

For most prospective tenants in Berkeley, the question is a routine one, a quick “No” box to check on a housing application, in between the sections on employment history and personal references. But for residents who’ve been incarcerated, they know their “Yes” answer likely guarantees their application is destined for the recycling bin.

For years, the “Ban the Box” movement has pushed to prohibit employers from conducting criminal background checks on job candidates. Now several elected officials and a coalition of activists want Berkeley to become a rare city that prohibits the practice during the rental process too. (1)

Landlords are not taking the potential change in law lightly. In fact one landlord struck back in an alarming way.

From the San Francisco Chronicle (Nov. 8, 19):

Still, landlords aren’t pleased. One landlord sent an email to tenants throughout different properties in Berkeley warning them that, “A convicted violent criminal may be moving into your building.” The warning prompted one tenant to express concerns to the mayor. The city received many other emails from tenants in support of the ordinance… (2)

Almeida concludes: “Regardless where Berkeley’s Housing Ban-the-Box legislation ends up, landlords and/or property managers should immediately take note and continue to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as TenantScreeningUSA.com, in order to maintain full compliance with existing law and stay ahead of potential law.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com 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, TenantScreeningUSA.com can provide help to landlords and property managers with all their tenant screening needs.

Notes:
(1)    berkeleyside.com/2019/11/12/berkeley-could-ban-criminal-background-checks-in-rental-housing
(2)    sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Berkeley-may-remove-criminal-checks-in-housing-14818822.php

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