Oakland became the first city in California to ban criminal background checks in most housing applications for private and other rental units under a measure adopted by the City Council on Tuesday.
The council unanimously passed a “fair chance housing” ordinance that bars landlords from conducting criminal background checks on prospective tenants. The Berkeley City Council is expected to vote on a similar measure in February.
“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 Councilwoman Nikki Fortunato Bas, a co-sponsor of the measure.
Councilman Dan Kalb and Vice Mayor Larry Reid are also co-sponsors.
San Francisco and Richmond have similar but more narrowly focused laws. In San Francisco, the law applies only to affordable housing, and in Richmond it applies to all publicly subsidized affordable housing and nonprofit housing.