The City Council of Binghampton is mulling legislation which will affect potential buyers and renters. Legislation would commit realtors, agents, landlords and those selling and renting property to criminal background check renters. The background check renters would be subject to would be lodged with the clerk’s office. Should emergency services or law enforcement have to attend the property the reference could possible be accessed. The idea or initiative to background check renters is seen as part of a wider clean up. To reigning in the decline and neglect of properties. Also to address the deteriorating neighborhoods and counter crime measures.
The proposed legislation will be moved forward later in the month by council members. To background check renters would provide landlords with a heads up on tenants they consider renting to. However the proposed legislation has met with some questions and resistance. Especially to the legality of the process and mindful that a key to reducing recidivism is the security of a home. A criminal record should not bar an individual from housing.
Landlords who background check renters may well then write clauses in to the letting agreements. A check may well highlight a tenant as an arsonist or one who has operated a meth lab. In this scenario a landlord may well write in to the lease that the tenant agrees to periodic inspections of the property irrespective if the tenant is present or not. The background check may well act as a deterrent though to individuals with records from buying or renting in Binghampton. However the intent is not to marginalize those with criminal records. The Legislation has been termed The Neighborhood Integrity Protection Act.
An individual can not be denied housing because of color, race, religion, familial status, national origin or disability. The Human Rights Law of New York State prohibits discrimination based on age, creed, marital status, sexual orientation or military status. However neither of the aforementioned covers protection for those with criminal records. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has tried to reduce obstacles to housing for individuals with criminal backgrounds. Those with criminal records need an opportunity to rebuild their lives. It was noted that existing landlords within Binghampton already background check renters prior to agreement.