Tenant Criminal Screening

By: Amelia Barrett

Last week I went down to Sacramento, CA for the annual California Association of Realtors (CAR) Legislative Day.   This is a day when Realtors from all over California go to the Capitol to remind our legislators that we are here to protect property rights and advocate for all property owners in California, but especially Nevada County.  There were 40+ members from the Nevada County Association of Realtors who attend this event.  We spoke to two of our local legislators, Assemblyman Ted Gaines and Assemblyman Brian Dahle.  They understood our concerns and will vote or have already voted in our favor on the bills we brought to their attention. 

Nevada County Association of Realtors members at the California State Capitol for Legislative Day 2015
Nevada County Association of Realtors members at the California State Capitol for Legislative Day 2015

One new bill that affects property management, investment property owners, and how we screen tenants was of special concern to me:  

AB369 (Jones-Sawyer) Housing Discrimination: Criminal Records – Under current law, a landlord is prohibited from discriminating against a rental applicant on the basis of race, religion, gender, martial status, etc.  This measure would add to the list of protected classes persons with criminal records.  CAR opposes this measure because it increases landlord liability and diminishes a landlord’s ability to protect their existing tenants.  

It is critical that this bill does not move ahead in order to protect Nevada County investment property owners and their home rental investments.  Tenant criminal screening is an  important piece to the overall screening puzzle.  

The American Apartment Owners Association goes on the explain more about criminal screening and how to identify red and yellow flags when doing a background check on an applicant in their article, Best Practices: Use Tenant Criminal History To Screen Tenants.  

I will provide more updates as I know more.  

 California Association of Realtors Legislative Day