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NYC bill preventing landlords from performing criminal background checks gains traction

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A new law being seriously considered by lawmakers in New York City could strip landlords of the ability to perform criminal background checks on prospective tenants.

The legislation, known as the "Fair Chance for Housing Act", is set to go before the New York City Council’s Committee on Civil Rights on December 8th and is being backed by at least 30 of the council’s 51 members, New York Post reported

In addition to being supported by a significant number of lawmakers, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has suggested he is open to working with lawmakers on the proposal.

"No one should be denied housing because they were once engaged with the criminal justice system, plain and simple," a spokesperson for the mayor's office told Fox Business in a statement. "We will work closely with our partners in the City Council to ensure this bill has maximum intended impact."

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A view of the Manhattan skyline with the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building from the Tear Drop 9/11 Memorial  ((Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) / Getty Images)

The bill has been criticized by some, including Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, who posted on Twitter  that the "safety of families" is at stake.

"A bill which would prohibit landlords from conducting criminal background checks of potential tenants," Vernikov tweeted. "Murdered someone? Beat up your girlfriend? Robbed? Stabbed your neighbor? No problem. Come live among us!"

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Eric Adams, mayor of New York, speaks to members of the media during a New York State Financial Control Board meeting in New York City (Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Today is supposed to be a day of gratitude, not attacking," Manhattan Democratic councilman Keith Powers responded to Vernikov's Thanksgiving Eve post. "We don’t believe in second chances anymore?

Vernikov responded by asking if Powers would "be willing to rent a floor of your home to s/o who has a long rap sheet and history of burglarizing homes/assaulting people?"

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Mayor Eric Adams speaks during announcement to create Office of Technology and Innovation at City Hall Rotunda (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"I’m not saying no to second chances, but your bill wouldn’t even allow us to see rap sheet," Vernikov added. 

Powers responded by telling Vernikov that it doesn't appear to him that she is "looking for a real conversation on this."

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The bill would not apply to the New York City Housing Authority complexes who would still be required by federal law to require background checks and does also not apply to homeowners renting out single rooms.

Crime rates in New York City have surged in recent years including a spike this summer that saw overall crise 31%

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