On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, the Berkeley City Council will vote on a new Berkeley Ban the Box Housing law, officially called the Ronald V. Dellums Fair Chance Access to Housing and Public Health and Safety Ordinance. The Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance will prohibit landlords from denying housing applicants based on criminal history.
In addition to banning the box, the Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance would prohibit all Berkeley landlords from advertising or using a policy that automatically excludes people with conviction history and taking adverse action against an applicant or tenant based on their criminal history.
As presently drafted, the Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance exempts owner-occupied single family homes, duplexes, triplexes, lawful accessory dwelling units, and other tenancies.
If the City Council adopts the Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, Berkeley will join Oakland, which became the first California to ban the box in housing in January 2020.
The Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance would be codified at Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.106, and
Several Berkeley community members believe the Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance is necessary to stem the unprecedented increase in homelessness, and remove structural barriers formerly incarcerated people face in trying to secure stable housing.
Should the Berkeley Fair Chance Housing Ordinance become law, it will take effect thirty days after final adoption.