Amid a worsening homelessness catastrophe, Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay Area has become the first in the nation to ban landlords from running criminal background checks on prospective tenants. The Fair Chance Ordinance will prohibit both private and public landlords from requiring applicants to disclose arrests or convictions. The ban is meant to curb housing discrimination against previously jailed people. It also prohibits landlords from advertising that discourages people with criminal records from applying for housing.
In California, roughly one in five residents have a criminal record. More than 5,000 people are on probation or parole in Alameda County.
The new law will take effect in April when the county’s COVID eviction moratorium expires.
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