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纽约宾厄姆顿考虑进行房产背景调查

听到某些工作(例如教师或医生)的强制性背景调查要求并不少见。但是,通常在房地产和物业租赁领域,背景调查更多地取决于个人房东或房地产经纪人。 不过,在纽约宾厄姆顿,房东很快就无法选择是否对潜在租户进行背景调查。根据位于宾厄姆顿的报纸Press& Sun-Bulletin的报道,宾厄姆顿市议会正在考虑制定一项当地法律,要求对该市的所有租户或居民进行背景调查。

该立法被称为《邻里保护诚信法》,基本上使尽职调查成为宾厄姆顿房地产经纪人和房东的法律问题。通过要求那些出租或出售房产的人筛选潜在的租户或买家,宾厄姆顿市将希望防止潜在危险的人——如性犯罪者或暴力罪犯——在该地区扎根。

提出该立法的议员是基于宾厄姆顿犯罪率不断上升,以及他认为该市房产的审美下降而提出的。据推测,这种背景调查要求将有助于减少犯罪,同时让该地区恢复更友好的外观和感觉。 

本月晚些时候,宾厄姆顿市议会将召集一个委员会讨论并可能修订《邻里保护诚信法》。不过,不出所料,该立法并没有得到所有理事会成员的完全支持——无论如何还没有。至少一位议员担心要求房东可能不完全合法。其他成员认为,虽然法律禁止房东和房地产经纪人使用种族、肤色或性取向等因素,但没有明确的语言禁止业主使用犯罪记录来决定向谁出租或出售。

尽管如此,即使完全违法不是问题,像这样的背景调查要求也可能会招致公民自由拥护者的批评。例如,可以争辩说,这样的政策会对非裔美国人社区产生不同的影响。由于非裔美国男性通常比其他群体更有可能有犯罪记录,因此使这些人更难在宾厄姆顿找到住房的政策可能被视为基于种族的歧视。

再说一次,《邻里保护诚信法》不包括禁止房东将财产出租给有犯罪历史的个人的语言。相反,它只需要进行背景调查,目的是让房东和房地产经纪人更多地了解他们正在与谁打交道。然后由房东或房地产经纪人决定有关租户或买家是否会对周围社区构成威胁。

In Binghamton, New York, though, landlords could soon have no choice in whether or not to running background checks on prospective tenants. According to a report from Binghamton-based newspaper Press& Sun-Bulletin, the Binghamton City Council is considering a local law that would mandate background checks for all tenants or residents of the city.

The legislation is called the Neighborhood Protection Integrity Act and basically makes due diligence a matter of law for realtors and landlords in Binghamton. By requiring those renting or selling property to screen potential tenants or buyers, the city of Binghamton would be looking to keep potentially dangerous individuals—like sex offenders or violent criminals—from setting down roots in the area.

The councilman who proposed the legislation did so based on the rising crime levels in Binghamton, as well as what he perceived as a decline in the aesthetics of the properties in the city. Presumably, this background check requirement would help cut down on crime while also returning a friendlier look and feel to the area. 

The Binghamton City Council will convene a committee to discuss and potentially revise the Neighborhood Protection Integrity Act later this month. Unsurprisingly, though, the legislation doesn't have the complete support of all council members—not yet, anyway. At least one councilman was worried that requiring landlords might not be entirely legal. Other members argued that, while law forbids landlords and realtors from using factors like race, color, or sexual orientation, there is no explicit language barring property owners from using criminal records to make decisions about who to rent or sell to.

Still, even if outright illegality isn't an issue, a background check requirement like this will probably garner criticism from champions of civil liberties. It could be argued, for example, that a policy like this would have a disparate impact on African American communities. Since African American males are typically more likely to have criminal records than other groups, a policy that makes it more difficult for those individuals to find housing in Binghamton could be viewed as discriminatory based on race.

Then again, the Neighborhood Protection Integrity Act does not include language prohibiting landlords from renting property to individuals with criminal history. Rather, it would just require background checks to take place, with the goal of giving landlords and realtors more knowledge of who they are dealing with. It would then be up to the landlord or realtor to decide whether or not the tenant or buyer in question would pose a threat to the surrounding community.


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