NYC Landlords Must Rent to Killers as City Council Set to Ban Criminal Checks on Tenants - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, February 6, 2023

NYC Landlords Must Rent to Killers as City Council Set to Ban Criminal Checks on Tenants

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By: Daniella Doria

In another step that will be sure to only increase New York City’s rising crime rate, a controversial bill prohibiting Big Apple landlords from performing criminal background checks on prospective tenants – even those convicted of murder and other heinous crimes – is on a fast track to becoming law.

Building owners, agents, employees, and real estate brokers would also be forbidden from obtaining information about a potential renter’s criminal record.

Rich Calder, of The New York Post, writes: “Unlike an earlier version of the bill that died in another Council committee at the end of the last year following outcry from landlord advocacy groups and others, the new bill introduced in August by Councilman Keith Powers (D-Manhattan) is gaining steam because of support from newly elected pols. Its co-sponsors include Speaker Adrienne Adams. Mayor Eric Adams appears more than willing to sign it into law should the bill reach his desk”.

“No one should be denied housing because they were once engaged with the criminal justice system, plain and simple,” Adams spokesman Charles Lutvack said to The New York Post. “We will work closely with our partners in the City Council to ensure this bill has maximum intended impact.”

One politician is speaking out against this senseless and dangerous bill. Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn) dropped an 85-second video on Twitter Wednesday night calling on New Yorkers to contact their local Council members and demand they reject the bill because “the safety of your families … is at stake.”

“What’s on the menu this Thanksgiving?” she said in a post accompanying the video. “A bill which would prohibit landlords from conducting criminal background checks of potential tenants, according to The New York Post. “Murdered someone? Beat up your girlfriend? Robbed? Stabbed your neighbor? No problem. Come live among us! Tell the @NYCCouncil to vote NO!”

The bill doesn’t affect New York City Housing Authority complexes, as they would still be required to conduct background checks for prospective tenants since they’re guided by federal law. It also doesn’t apply to two-family homes or homeowners renting out single rooms.

The legislation also doesn’t prohibit landlords from checking New York’s sex offender registry to weed out pervs as prospective tenants. But the bill’s current language leaves landlords vulnerable to renting to people who committed sex crimes in other states because out-of-state sex offender registries are not addressed, reports Calder.

“We are proponents of second chances when it comes to low-level crimes like drug use but renting to people convicted more serious crimes like … arson and murder [and repeat offenders] is a whole other thing,” said Vito Signorile, a spokesman for the Rent Stabilization Association

The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will hold an initial hearing on the Fair Chance for Housing Act on December 8. Thirty of the council’s 51 members have sponsored the proposed legislation which also has the support of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Extreme leftist Council Member Keith Powers represents New York City’s Council District 4, covering Carnegie Hill, Central Park South, Garment District, Koreatown, Midtown East, Midtown West, Murray Hill, Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, Sutton Place, Times Square, Tudor City, Turtle Bay, Upper East Side, and Waterside Plaza. His woke, radicalism speaks for itself, in his first term, the Council Member chaired the Criminal Justice Committee, where he worked to overhaul the criminal justice system and change the culture in our city’s jails. He played a key role in stewarding the vote to close Rikers Island and has passed legislation to eliminate bail fees.

“NYC gets what they vote for, they wanted this, they voted for a radical like Powers, who stands firmly with gang members, muggers, rapists and carjacking thugs, his priority like most in the city council is protecting the criminal, not the law abiding taxpayer”, a political activist told TJV.

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