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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Progressives want to stop landlords from using criminal background checks to screen renters

Progressives are pushing to stop landlords from being able to conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants before leasing their property.

A new bill introduced by “Squad” members Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., would stop consumer reporting agencies from including criminal history information on reports that are now used to screen potential renters.

It also calls for stripping consumer reports of criminal convictions that are more than seven years old, and creates a new “national standard” for criminal information not included in such reports, among other provisions.

The legislation is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, but it’s a signal of where progressives are eyeing reforms as the 2024 election cycle heats up. It comes as cities across America are still dealing with a rise in crime that peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as Democratic officials in many of those cities field criticism over being too soft on offenders.

Republicans this week argued that landlords have a right to know the criminal background of prospective tenants.

“We all want safe, affordable housing for our constituents. But if the goal is to increase safe and affordable housing options, this isn’t the way to go about doing it,” California GOP Rep. Mike Garcia told Fox News Digital on Monday.

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“This bill would be an unnecessary and unproductive expansion of bad housing policy. Earlier this year, landlords in LA went on a hunger strike to protest the city’s backwards approach to the issue. Property owners have a right to know who is renting their assets, and California’s housing challenge will only get worse if my colleagues across the aisle continue to ignore that fact.”

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., blasted the bill and compared it to the fringe left’s calls to defund law enforcement. “This bill makes as much sense as defunding the police. Why does the Left prioritize criminals over law-abiding citizens?” Banks said to Fox News Digital on Monday.

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“This legislation will end the systemic barriers to stable housing returning citizens face every day as they begin to rebuild their lives in our communities,” she said.

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