房东是否应该可以自由地进行 租户背景调查 并根据犯罪记录等细节做出决定？这个问题是目前在出租房屋社区激烈争论的中心。
争议的中心是华盛顿州西雅图市。2017 年，该市通过了《公平机会住房条例》，旨在“帮助防止对有过往犯罪记录的租房者的住房不公平偏见”。该法令禁止该市的房东 对其潜在租户进行犯罪背景调查。只有将与租户共享住宅或财产的房东（例如出租单间卧室或附属住宅单元的房东）才被允许检查租户的犯罪记录。
一项限制是，房东向潜在租户收取每位租户的费用不得超过 20 美元，以支付租户背景调查的费用。另一个原因是房东不能使用以前的驱逐数据来取消潜在租户的资格。房东必须给租户 14 天的时间在被驱逐后腾出房产；以前的要求是三天。房东们争辩说，这些规定 使得从出租物业中获利变得更加困难。
加利福尼亚州伯克利的官员 正在考虑禁止租赁申请的盒子——芝加哥等主要城市已经实施了这项政策。密苏里州堪萨斯城正在考虑一项“租户权利法案”，该法案将保护租户免受过去犯罪历史的歧视并限制保证金。华盛顿州斯波坎市正在考虑制定类似的《租户权利法案》， 批评人士认为该法案会使住房变得更难以负担。
刑事司法改革的支持者有大量证据表明，禁止前罪犯从事住房就业会促进累犯。然而，房东确实有权利，许多业主声称这些新的“租户权利”法直接侵犯了这些权利，例如进行租户背景调查的权利。请密切关注 GOOHO.CN 博客 ，了解租户背景调查和审查立法的最新进展。
tenant background checks and make decisions based on details such as criminal history? This question is at the center of a contentious debate currently raging in the rental housing community.
Several progressive legislators and city councils have recently taken steps to curb the use of criminal history information in housing-related decisions. Landlords are pushing back against these laws and ordinances, arguing that the government should have no say in what they do with their private property.
At the center of the controversy is Seattle, Washington. In 2017, the city passed a “Fair Chance Housing Ordinance,” which is intended “to help prevent unfair bias in housing against renters with a past criminal record.” The ordinance bars landlords in the city from running a criminal background check on their prospective tenants. Only landlords who will be sharing a residence or property with a tenant—such as those renting out a single bedroom or an accessory dwelling unit—are permitted to check the criminal records of tenants.
Seattle also maintains a “first-in-time law,” which requires landlords to establish their standards or qualifications for tenants and then accept the first applicant who qualifies. Landlords have criticized—and legally challenged—both laws, arguing that the restrictive legislation is an example of government overreach and suggesting that it might drive them to take their properties off the rental market entirely.
Seattle isn’t the only place where these debates are taking place. New York State recently passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act. The law seeks to protect tenants from unfair housing practices, but it also puts new limitations on how landlords can manage their properties.
One restriction is that landlords can’t charge their prospective tenants more than $20 per tenant to cover the cost of tenant background checks. Another is that landlords cannot use previous eviction data to disqualify a prospective tenant. Landlords must give tenants 14 days to vacate a property after being evicted; the former requirement was three days. Landlords have argued that the stipulations make it more difficult to turn a profit from rental properties.
Officials in Berkeley, California are thinking about banning the box for rental applications—a policy that major cities such as Chicago have already implemented. Kansas City, Missouri is mulling a “Tenant Bill of Rights,” which would protect tenants against discrimination for past criminal history and limit security deposits. Spokane, Washington is considering a similar Tenants Bill of Rights law, which critics have argued would making housing less affordable.
Proponents of criminal justice reform have plenty of evidence that barring ex-criminal offenders from housing employment boosts recidivism. However, landlords do have rights, and many property owners claim that these new “tenant rights” laws directly infringe upon those rights, such as the right to conduct tenant background checks. Keep an eye on the backgroundchecks.com blog for the latest developments in tenant background checks and vetting legislation.