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Public Officials Make Changes Regarding Background Checks and Security Deposits For Renters

Oakland City Hall
Oakland City Hall
Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group

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Security deposits and background checks can be problemsome for renters. Large cash-only security deposits on top of first month’s rent can make it difficult for people to round up all the funds needed.

According to a recent piece from The Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio city council members recently passed a law that expands renters’ choices on how they pay for a security deposit, making the city the first in the country requiring landlords to accept alternatives to cash payments. Other legislators are looking to ease the steep costs of security deposits as well by implementing deposit or rent limits. According to the Wall Street Journal, landlords argue collecting all-cash security deposits allows them to protect their assets.  

And in other housing news, the Oakland City Council this week moved to approve an ordinance that would prohibit landlords from asking about a potential tenant’s criminal history or rejecting them out of hand for having a record. Council members voted unanimously to pass the Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance, which supporters say will help ensure ex-cons can find secure housing instead of ending up on the streets. The council must still take a final vote on Feb. 4 before the measure takes effect, the East Bay Times reported. The Berkeley City Council is expected to vote on a similar measure in February and supporters plan to start work shortly on similar measures in Emeryville and Alameda County. Oakland’s ordinance is the strictest of its kind in the state, covering both public and private housing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss the evolving changes to these types of housing policies that impact renters. Do you have thoughts? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.

With files from the Associated Press 


Marty Johnson, breaking news reporter for The Hill, he’s been writing about Cincinnati's new law that gives renters alternative options to how they pay for a security deposit; he tweets @martyjtweets 

Marisa Kendall, housing reporter for the Bay Area News Group; she tweets @MarisaKendall