New Jersey law bars landlords from asking about criminal histories

| 21 Jun 2021 | 07:24

Housing. (AP) New Jersey landlords won’t be able to inquire about potential renters’ criminal histories under a new law Gov. Phil Murphy signed Friday.

Murphy, a Democrat, signed the Fair Chance in Housing Act on what was the state’s first official celebration of Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state workers.

“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,” Murphy said in a statement.

Murphy also signed legislation making the third Friday in June a state holiday. June 19 — or Juneteenth — commemorates when word reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, that slavery had been abolished. President Joe Biden signed similar nationwide legislation on Thursday.

The new housing measure aims to eliminate housing instability that contributes to recidivism, according to the governor. The new law won’t apply in cases where federal law permits landlords to ask about certain criminal convictions.