Under a newly introduced Assembly bill, California cities would no longer be able to force landlords to evict renters based on alleged actions at or near the property.

The bill, AB 1418 by Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor, D-Inglewood, targets the most stringent versions of so-called “crime-free housing” policies adopted by some California cities.

Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor

Under AB 1418, a city could not force a tenant’s eviction based on calls to law enforcement, suspected criminal activity, or other alleged nuisance activity.  The bill also would prohibit municipalities from making landlords conduct criminal background checks as part of tenant screening. Further, the legislation would ban cities from forcing the eviction of an entire family based on a felony conviction of one person in the household.

The legislation would not prohibit landlords from conducting criminal background checks of their own volition or terminating a tenancy based on nuisance activity.  Note, however, that some jurisdictions do prohibit or limit the use of criminal background checks during screening.

CAA has previously contested similar local laws. Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development started an investigation into a crime-free housing ordinance in the city of Hesperia that was enforced by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office. The city amended the ordinance under pressure to make the most onerous rules optional, but the investigation continued. Ultimately, the Department of Justice sued the city and Sheriff’s Office on behalf of HUD, and in December 2022, they settled for $1 million.