Oakland City Council moving to ban landlords from conducting criminal background checks on tenants

Last year California’s homeless rate increased by 16 percent.

Last year the share of felony offenders in California rearrested for any offense within two years was at 66 percent.

Seems that decades of progressive leadership and policies hasn’t done anything to decrease homelessness in that state. So I guess it makes sense to go after private property owners rather than the mentally ill and drug-addicted folks living on the streets. That’s liberal logic for ya.

Excerpts from SF Gate:

“The Oakland City Council on Tuesday moved to approve an ordinance that would prohibit landlords from asking about a potential tenant’s criminal history or rejecting them out of hand for having a record.

Council members voted unanimously to pass the Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance, which supporters say will help ensure ex-cons can find secure housing instead of ending up on the streets.

The council must still take a final vote on Feb. 4 before the measure takes effect, the East Bay Times reported.

Oakland’s ordinance is the strictest of its kind in the state, covering both public and private housing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

This ordinance is about making sure returning community members have equal opportunities they deserve to successfully reintegrate into our community, and this begins with a roof over your head,” said Oakland council member Nikki Fortunato Bas, who co-sponsored the measure with council member Dan Kalb and Vice Mayor Larry Reid.

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.

The Oakland ordinance does have some exemptions for single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and in-law units if the owner is living on the property. Likewise, tenants seeking to add or replace a roommate would be exempt.”

Read the whole story here.

It’s interesting to note that the following are exempt: Owners of government-subsidized affordable housing, including federally-subsidized Section 8 units, who are required to exclude certain renters based on their criminal records.


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6 Comment authors
CogitoErgoSumantraAuntie LuluWilliamAlmaDr. Eowyn Recent comment authors
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Lou Minati
Lou Minati

I guess these officials are clueless as to how easily a landlord can get around this.

1) Advertise that you are “taking applications” for a vacancy you will have in ____ weeks. Have your applicants fill out a very vanilla, generic, politically correct form.

2) Pony up a small fee for a 1-year subscription to a background check website such as Intelius.com, BeenVerified.com, InstantCheckmate.com, or whatever your favorite happens to be. I’m sure most landlords do this anyway.

3) Get the information you need and select the tenant(s) you prefer.

Problem solved.

Dr. Eowyn

This is insane.

The annual crime rate in Oakland, CA is 136% higher than the average of the whole of the state of California, and 158% higher than the national average. https://www.areavibes.com/oakland-ca/crime/


“This ordinance is about making sure returning community members have equal opportunities they deserve to successfully reintegrate into our community.” Not all arrested for a crime committed return to the community a changed person; repeat offenders DO NOT BELONG in any community, they cannot and will not reintegrate to society because they come out far worse than when they were admitted in the system. The system is not purgatory for them but rather a living hell where surviving is the norm, life outside is difficult and eventually going back is the safest world they can survive. California is a heaven… Read more »


So in Oakland ex-cons are “returning community members”. There’s no ism like euphemism. And since when do they “deserve” equal opportunities? They would have to earn the right to be treated equally by staying out of trouble for an extended period of time. Get jobs, be responsible, obey the laws. No one is stopping them from doing that, they have an equal opportunity. If they have trouble finding housing, oh well. Make your bed, lie in it

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu

Bravo! Well said.

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu

Yea, they want to put it all on the backs of landlords!


Why would any landlord want to invest in and rent to Oakland under that policy?