NJ Town Considers Requiring Background Checks for Renting
BRICK — This township has been considering an ordinance to require landlords to do criminal background checks before they rent to a prospective tenant.
Mayor John Ducey says some landlords complained that certain tenants were putting them in what he calls their so-called "animal house" court, and getting fined. He says they just wanted to heighten landlord awareness about who they are renting to.
"When you have a number of landlords out there who are not doing this, did not realize that they could do background checks, that is why we thought that it would be important to bring it to the forefront," he said.
"We had a number of landlords who would come in to township meetings and complain, 'I did not know the persons that I rented to was going to put me into this position, where I would be getting potentially fined for having a bad tenant; I did know that I could any type of background check before renting. I did not know that any of that was allowed.'"
The mayor says the background checks can be done by landlords online. He says doing a check does not necessarily mean the landlord cannot rent to a tenant with a past issue in their background.
But Ducey says the ordinance is on hold after concerns were raised about possible discrimination against prospective renters. The ordinance is being reexamined by Brick's land use committee.
"That could be a tweak — or it may not come back of committee," he said.