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NYC Council Committee holds hearing on bill ending tenant criminal background checks

By Web staff

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    NEW YORK, New York (WABC) — Several groups are expected to rally outside New York City Hall for a second straight day Thursday as City Council members hold a hearing on a controversial bill.

The Committee on Civil and Human Rights will hold an initial hearing at 10 a.m. on the Fair Chance for Housing Act

The legislation would ban landlords from running criminal background checks on prospective tenants.

Those opposing the bill rallied on the City Hall steps Wednesday. Today, those in favor are expected to do the same.

Supporters of the bill say landlords have been able to legally discriminate against people with criminal records.

The legislation would not bar them from checking the NY Sex Offender registry, and it would not apply to two-family homes or homeowners renting out single rooms.

And it would not impact NYCHA complexes, because background checks there are required by federal law.

Some say the bill presents safety concerns.

“If this bill passes, we’re actually bringing that crime into our homes, to live next door to us,” said City Council member Inna Vernikov. “We may actually not be safe in our own apartments and homes. This is a very dangerous bill that would harm most law-abiding New Yorkers.”

Thirty of the council’s 51 members have sponsored the proposed legislation, which also has the support of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

A similar bill died last year but it appears it may have enough support to pass this year.

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