The Daily Dirt: Three-year journey for criminal history bill

New version acceptable to landlord groups and advocates for convicted people

The Daily Dirt
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

A bill once derided by landlord groups has new life. 

A measure to bar criminal background checks on prospective tenants and buyers went on a three-year journey. 

The bill was introduced in 2020 and seemed headed for approval, but landlord groups launched a last-minute campaign to kill it. That was mid-December 2021. 

The following December, the measure again seemed about to pass, but Mayor Eric Adams called on the Council to make changes. 

Here we are in mid-December again, and a new version of the bill has emerged — one that landlords and proponents say they can live with. 

The latest iteration of the measure, sponsored by Council member Keith Powers, allows landlords to consult recent misdemeanor and felony charges when deciding whether to rent out or sell an apartment. “Recent” here means fewer than three years since an individual convicted of a misdemeanor was sentenced or released from incarceration. For a felony charge, the threshold is five years. 

On X, formerly known as Twitter, the Rent Stabilization Association credited its “immediate response contacting Council members throughout NYC” for the release of a “new & better” bill. 

It seems that the city bill was able to piggyback on state-level action. The measure mirrors the state’s newly approved Clean Slate Act. Under that law, formerly incarcerated individuals who remain crime-free can have their misdemeanor and felony convictions sealed three or eight years, respectively, after their sentencing or release from prison. 

What we’re thinking about: Will the governor sign these controversial bills? Send a note to

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A thing we’ve learned: “Operation Turtle Dove” is an initiative of environmental and wildlife conservation groups in the U.K. to revive the turtle dove population, which has dropped 99 percent since the late 1960s, according to the project’s website. The demands of “12 Days of Christmas” is not to blame for the species’ decline. Rather, it is the loss of its breeding habitats.   

Elsewhere in New York…

— Well, this derailed my day. As you probably know, a bull was loose at Newark Penn Station on Thursday morning, running along NJ Transit tracks and delaying trains by 45 minutes. The bull was safely captured, but it is unclear how it got there, WABC reports. Perhaps opponents of congestion pricing were trying to make a point about mass transit not being reliable?

— Attention transit nerds with extra cash: The MTA is having is selling more than 1,000 items this week in a pop-up holiday sale, Gothamist reports. Items include subway station signs, seats, pieces of R32 trains and master controllers. 

— In less-fun transit news: The Hudson Planning Board on Tuesday signed off on allowing a mining company to expand a road that runs from its quarry in Greenport to its dock on the Hudson waterfront, the Times Union reports. The controversial matter has been under consideration for nearly 10 years. 

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing Thursday was $8.7 million for a condo at 157 Chambers St. in Tribeca.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $79 million for the Double Tree by Hilton building at 25 West 51st Street in Midtown.

New to the Market: The priciest residence to hit the market Thursday was a condo at 173 MacDougal St. in Greenwich Village asking $7.1 million. Corcoran Group has the listing. — Jay Young

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