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Local Anti-Discrimination Ordinances
An increasing number of cities and counties are passing ordinances that prohibit discrimination against individuals with an arrest or conviction record in the housing context. The following cities have passed local ordinances that expand housing opportunities for people who have come in contact with the criminal justice system.
San Francisco, CA:
The Fair Chance Act, Article 49 of the San Francisco Police Code
Regulates housing providers’ use of arrest and conviction records for adverse actions related to applicants and residents of city-funded affordable housing.
New York, NY:
The NYC Human Rights Law, Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York
Makes it a discriminatory practice to refuse to rent or sell a housing accommodation to an individual because of his or her criminal record.
Ordinance to Assist the Successful Reintegration of Formerly Incarcerated People into the Community by Removing Barriers to Stable Housing after Their Release from Prison, and to Enhance the Health and Security of the community and Providing for their Families, Ordinance 14-0921,
The ordinance limits what a housing provider may consider in a housing application related to criminal history.
Seattle Ordinance No. 125114, First-Come, First-Served Renters Law
Seattle has a first-come, first-served renters law that goes into effect on January 1, 2016. The goal of the policy is to prevent discrimination based on bias or unconscious bias, including discrimination against people with a criminal record. The law requires that landlords must provide applicants with basic renter qualifications prior to accepting an application. Once accepted, the landlord must mark the time and date of every completed application. The landlord will then be required to offer the unit to the first qualified renter.
The Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016, Legislation No. B21-0706
The Act prohibits housing providers from denying housing based on an arrest record and requires that a landlord only ask about criminal history after an applicant has been deemed otherwise qualified to rent the unit.
Urbana Code of Ordinances, Ch. 12 Article III, §§ 12-37, 12-64
Makes it illegal to discriminate based on prior arrest or conviction record.
Municipal Code of the City of Champaign, Ch. 17 Article I, §§ 17.3 - 17.45, Article V §§ 17.71, 17.75
Makes it illegal to discriminate based on a prior arrest or conviction record.
The following cities in Wisconsin implemented policies that expanded housing protections for people with criminal records. The 2011 Wisconsin Act 108, however, preempts local governments from passing laws that place limitations on landlords using, or attempting to use or obtain arrest and conviction records. The Act repealed the protections, although local law in the following two jurisdictions contains language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of prior arrest or conviction.
Madison Code of Ordinances, Ch. 39, §§ 39.03, available at
Dane County, WI:
Dane County Code of Ordinances, Title 6 Ch. 31, §§ 31.02 - 31.11, available at