Opinion: Another Nail in the Coffin | Aaron Neuman

Governor Murphy must have felt that he didn’t do enough to wreck New Jersey’s economy during the COVID-19 shutdown. On Friday, he took another step, this time in the name of “social justice,” to pound another nail into the coffin of the state’s economy. 

Murphy signed a bill called the “Fair Chance Act” which prohibits landlords from requesting a person’s criminal history on housing applications. Murphy signed the bill during a ceremony commemorating the first state and national observance of Juneteenth, and connected the two, saying that “as we commemorate Juneteenth, we must commit to both remembering the past and continuing to take action to ensure communities of color, especially Black Americans, achieve the full equity they deserve.”

First of all, one would think that his clear insinuation that requesting a criminal background check affects black people more than white people is outright racist. Why does Governor Murphy think that black people commit more crimes than white people? Where are the social justice warriors? Oh, that’s right. Murphy is a Democrat; they’re allowed to say whatever they want.

But putting that aside, the silliness of this new law comes second only to how harmful it can wind up being devastating for people who use real estate as a source of income and building wealth.

One of the primary concerns for people who rent out apartments is the quality of their tenants. If a landlord has bad tenants, his property will suffer damage. That damage could be physical or to the value of the property due to the types of people living there. A single bad tenant could wreck an entire building.

Understanding who your tenants are is a key part of being profitable in the real estate industry. And part of the due diligence and screening process when considering a new tenant is knowing whether the individual is violent or has a history of bad behavior that would suggest that he or she would be a bad tenant. Taking the ability of landlords to find out about prospective tenants is an objectively bad thing.

There is nothing racist about conducting a criminal background check on a prospective tenant. There is nothing unfair about it, nor is it anything personal. A landlord has to know what he is getting in a tenant. But Governor Murphy somehow wants landlords to figure out, without any evidence, whether someone applying to live in an apartment or house is trustworthy.

This is yet another move by the governor to help people at the expense of others. The other most recent example was when he declined to stop the federal unemployment benefits boost in New Jersey because he said it would force employers to raise their wages, and despite the fact that food and other goods might be more expensive.

Murphy panders to a very specific electorate. He works to make some people’s lives better by making others’ worse. That’s not the kind of leader we need.

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  1. While background checks for housing or SAT’s for college disproportionately affects minorities, someone still has to make a judgement over who to accept and who to deny. If these decisions are made by going off gut instinct rather than hard data, minorities will be affected even more.

    As with banning plastic bags, Gov. Murphy is trying to show that he cares by taking away our freedom, even if it means making the underlying problem even worse.

  2. Actually this law will hurt the poor people the most. With the landlords powerless to stop drug dealers from moving into buildings, guess what will happen next to all poor children in the building…
    But really, that is what the Democrats want, keep the black people depressed, so that they keep on voting for Democrats… It’s simple, keep on telling them that it’s everyone else’s fault, so they shouldn’t even bother trying to help themselves, other than blame everyone else…

  3. The law actually allows running background checks but only after the application stage not during. Meaning the landlord first has to make a conditional offer to rent and only then can they run a background check. It does make it more difficult and does place additional requirements on the landlord as far as when a criminal record is found but it does NOT say a landlord cannot run a background check on a potential tenant. This law is similar to the Ban The Box laws for employment background checks.

  4. As a landlord who manages over 500 units, i can say that this will end up hurting the lower class more than anybody else.

    Until now, if someone would come into a property office and i wasnt sure if i wanted to approve them, i could always run a background check to be sure.

    Now however, even if it comes back with 20 3rd degree crimes from 3 years ago, i would be forced to accept him.

    Therefore, when people come in who are ‘on the fence’ so to speak, i will be forced to just deny them before opening the can of worms of the background check.

  5. Vote this idiot out in November his stupid brain is sending our State to the dumps!


    Goose Gossage endorses Jack ????%!!!

    Vote Republican!

    Gossage out!

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