When your TV has a service interruption, you call your television service provider; when your tenant screening has an interruption, it’s likely the fault of your legislators. Every year, the number of bills proposed aiming to restrict or change criminal and eviction data increases. 2022’s legislative session was no exception as three Californian bills currently sit on Governor Newsom’s desk.
Sealed Criminal Records
SB 731 has passed the California Senate and is expected to be signed by Governor Newsom. This law would expand criminal record sealing by automatically sealing conviction and arrest records after the defendant has completed all terms of:
- Mandatory supervision
- Post-Release community supervision
- No new felony offenses within 4 years
Those convicted of serious and violent felonies, including felonies requiring sex offender registration, would not be eligible for record sealing under this bill. However, arrest records without convictions would be sealed. If signed, this would go into effect in July 2023.
Reusable Tenant Screening Reports
Imagine if renters could reuse credit reports for multiple rental properties. AB 2559 would enable rental applicants to purchase a single tenant screening report and apply it to multiple Californian properties for 30 days. The tenant screening report would be supplied by a third party and landlords would be prohibited to charge a screening fee. Additionally, the third-party tenant screening company would not be able to charge the property owner to access or use the report. As written, rental owners would not be required to use reusable reports.
Record Access Restrictions Lifted
After All of Us or None of Us v. Hamrick caused superior courts across California to delete date of birth (and some driver’s license number) search fields, verifying consumer identities during the criminal background check process became significantly more difficult. As former criminal research analyst, Ian Riley put it – “as the odds of a potential crossover between two different individuals on a report are higher, personally identifiable information becomes even more crucial and heavily relied upon.” In short, the current restrictions make it trickier for our record researchers to verify consumer identities. SB 1262 would return court record searches to before this new ruling by allowing searches with driver’s license number and date of birth information.