Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Atlantic City 11-15-2017 by Ord. No. 32-2017. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Criminal history background checks for City employment — See Ch. 15A, Art. I.
Background checks for events and festivals on City property — See Ch. 90, Art. I.
Licenses and fees — See Ch. 170.

§ 114-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADVERTISEMENT
Any circulation, mailing, posting or other form of publication utilizing any media promoting the landlord or real estate broker or intending to alert its audience or prospective applicants of availability of real property for rent, lease or sublease.
APPLICANT
Any person or persons seeking to rent, lease or sublease real property or who requests information from a landlord or real estate broker related to seeking a rental, lease or sublease of real property.
CONVICTION
Any judgment of adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction arising from a verdict or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, including a sentence of incarceration, a suspended sentence, a sentence of probation, or a sentence of unconditional discharge.
FORMAL APPLICATION
A submission by the applicant of any and all materials or information required to be reviewed by a landlord or real estate broker before the rent, lease or sublease of real property.
INQUIRY
Any direct or indirect conduct intended to gather information from or about an applicant, using any mode of communication, including but not limited to application forms, interviews or criminal history checks from government databases or private credit reporting agencies.
LANDLORD
The owner, lessee, sublessee, assignee, managing agent, other person having the right to rent, lease or sublease any real property or part or portion thereof, or employee or agent thereof.
REAL ESTATE BROKER
A person, company, corporation, firm or association who, for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration, or by reason of promise or reasonable expectation thereof, exchanges, buys or rents or offers or attempts to offer an exchange or rental of real estate or an interest therein, or collects or offers or attempts to collect rent for the use of real estate, or assist or directs in the procuring of prospects or the negotiation or closing of any transaction which does or is contemplated to result in the exchange, leasing or renting of any real estate.
REAL PROPERTY
Real estate, lands, multiple dwellings and leaseholds, provided however, that provisions of this article shall not apply to the rental of:
A. 
A single apartment or flat in a two-family dwelling, the other occupancy unit of which is occupied by the owner as his/her residence or the household of his/her family at the time of such rental; or
B. 
A room or rooms to another person or persons by the owner-occupant of a one-family dwelling occupied by him/her as his/her residence or the household of his/her family at the time of such rental.

§ 114-2 Criminal history inquiry practices; notification; holding open housing units.

In connection with any rental, lease or sublease of real property:
A. 
Inquiry into and consideration of any applicant' s criminal history shall take place only after the applicant has submitted a formal application. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the applicant discloses any information regarding his or her criminal history by unsolicited voluntary written or oral disclosure, the landlord or real estate broker may discuss the criminal history disclosed by the applicant.
B. 
Prior to conducting any criminal history inquiry regarding an applicant, the landlord or real estate broker shall provide standard written notification to the applicant:
(1) 
Advising that, upon the written consent of the applicant, the landlord or real estate broker will conduct a criminal history inquiry and that the failure to provide consent may disqualify the applicant from consideration;
(2) 
Advising that upon consenting to a criminal history inquiry, the applicant has the right and opportunity of not less than three business days from the receipt of notice to submit evidence which may inform the consideration under § 114-4 of this article; and
(3) 
Advising that the applicant has the right to receive a copy, upon the applicant's request, of the results of any criminal history inquiry obtained regarding the applicant.
C. 
A landlord or real estate broker may hold a housing unit open until an applicant provides information about rehabilitation, but a landlord or real estate broker is not required to hold a housing unit after making an initial determination on an applicant 's eligibility.

§ 114-3 Scope of inquiry limited.

In connection with any rental, lease or sublease:
A. 
Subject to the terms of this article, a landlord or real estate broker shall be permitted to inquire about:
(1) 
Indictable offense convictions in New Jersey or, if from any other state or jurisdiction, convictions for conduct which if committed in New Jersey would constitute an indictable offense.
(2) 
Disorderly persons convictions for municipal ordinance violations in New Jersey or, if from any other state or jurisdiction, convictions for conduct which if committed in New Jersey would constitute a disorderly persons offense or municipal ordinance violation.
B. 
It shall not be permissible for a landlord or real estate broker to conduct any criminal history inquiry, require any person to disclose or reveal, or to take any adverse action against any person on the basis of:
(1) 
Any arrest or criminal accusation made against such person which is not then pending against that person and which did not result in a conviction; and
(2) 
Any records which have been erased, expunged, the subject of an executive pardon or otherwise legally nullified; or
(3) 
Any juvenile adjudications of delinquency or any records which have been sealed.

§ 114-4 Required evaluation considerations.

In connection with any rental, lease, assignment or sublease a landlord or real estate broker shall consider the following factors in evaluating the applicant and the results of any criminal history inquiry, conducted in accordance with the limitations of § 114-3:
A. 
Any information, if provided, pertaining to the degree of rehabilitation and good conduct or to the accuracy of the criminal record in question produced by the applicant, or produced on his or her behalf to the landlord or real estate broker, including but not limited to any certificate of rehabilitation issued by any state or federal agency, which includes but is not limited to certificates issued pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:168A-1 to 2A:168A-16;
B. 
The amount of time that has passed since the conviction(s) and/or release from custody; and
C. 
The nature and circumstances surrounding the crime(s).

§ 114-5 Notice of adverse action.

In connection with any adverse decision regarding a rental, lease, or sublease: If, after conducting a criminal history inquiry, the landlord or real estate broker makes a final determination adverse to the applicant resulting in the refusal of any rental, lease, assignment, or sublease, the landlord or real estate broker shall, within 10 business days:
A. 
Notify the applicant, in writing, of the adverse action, stating the reasons for rejection and including the landlord' s or real estate broker's consideration of factors required under § 114-4 of this article; and
B. 
Provide the applicant with a copy of the results of the criminal history inquiry.

§ 114-6 Confidentiality.

In connection with any rental, lease or sublease, any information pertaining to an applicant's criminal history obtained in conjunction with the rental, lease or sublease process:
A. 
Shall remain confidential; and
B. 
Shall only be shared with individuals who have a need to know for the purpose of evaluating applicants in a manner consistent with this article; and
C. 
Shall not be used, distributed or disseminated by the landlord or real estate broker for any use other than those described in this article; and
D. 
Shall not be used, distributed or disseminated by the landlord or real estate broker to any other entity or individual, except as dictated by law.

§ 114-7 Advertisements.

A. 
In connection with any rental, lease or sublease, it shall be unlawful for a landlord or real estate broker to produce or disseminate any advertisement that directly or indirectly references the use or consideration of an applicant's criminal history, except that nothing in this section shall preclude the expression of statutory, regulatory, or rules-based eligibility restrictions applicable to the rental, lease or sublease of real property as described in § 114-8A herein, so long as such expression is limited to the specified offense(s) and time period(s) as established by law.
B. 
In any such action against any landlord or real estate broker under this section any such advertisement shall be presumptive evidence that the landlord or real estate broker authorize the advertisement.

§ 114-8 Exemptions.

The prohibitions of this article shall not apply:
A. 
Where any federal or state law, regulation, or rule requires or permits the consideration of an applicant's criminal history in the rental, lease or sublease of real property, provided the exemption is limited to those offenses or types of offenses and time periods that federal or state law, regulation, or rule requires or permits the landlord or real estate broker to consider.
B. 
To any real property designated by the landlord or real estate broker to participate in a federal, state or local government program or obligation that is obligated to encourage the provision of housing for individuals with criminal histories.

§ 114-9 Enforcement; violations and penalties.

A. 
The City of Atlantic City Business Administrator shall designate an office, board or department that shall enforce the provisions of this article.
B. 
A first violation shall be subject to a fine of up to $500. Each subsequent violation shall be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

§ 114-10 Definitions.

As used in this article:
APPLICANT
Any person considered or who requests to be considered for a license by the City or who requests information from the City related to seeking a license.
CITY
The City of Atlantic City or any City department, agency, board or commission or any employee or agent thereof.
CONVICTION
Any sentence arising from a verdict or plea of guilty or nolo contendere or, including a sentence of incarceration, a suspended sentence, a sentence of probation or a sentence of unconditional discharge.
FORMAL APPLICATION
A submission by the applicant of any and all materials or information required to be reviewed by the City before the granting of a license.
INQUIRY
Any direct or indirect conduct intended to gather information from or about an applicant for a license, using any mode of communication, including but not limited to application forms, interviews, and criminal history checks.
LICENSE
Any certificate, license, permit, authorization or grant of permission required by the City as a condition for the lawful practice of any occupation, employment, trade, vocation, business, or profession. "License" shall not, for purposes of this article, include any license, authorization or permit to possess, carry or fire any explosive, pistol, handgun, rifle, shotgun or other firearm.
OTHERWISE QUALIFIED
Any applicant who meets all other criteria for a license, pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Revised General Ordinances of Atlantic City.

§ 114-11 Criminal history inquiry practices; notification.

In connection with any decision regarding a license:
A. 
Inquiry into and consideration of any applicant's criminal history shall take place only after the applicant has submitted a formal application and has been found otherwise qualified to receive a license from the City. Notwithstanding the foregoing, If the applicant discloses any information regarding his or her criminal history by unsolicited voluntary written or oral disclosure, the City may discuss the criminal history disclosed by the applicant.
B. 
Prior to conducting any criminal history inquiry regarding an applicant, the City shall provide standard written notification to the applicant:
(1) 
Advising that, upon the written consent of the applicant, the City will conduct a criminal history inquiry; and
(2) 
Advising that, following any adverse decision by the City retracting the conditional offer of license, the applicant will have the right and opportunity to present evidence as required by § 114-13 herein, and describing the kinds of evidence the applicant may present at that time.

§ 114-12 Scope of inquiry limited.

In connection with any decision by the City regarding a license:
A. 
Subject to the terms of this article, the City shall be permitted to inquire about:
(1) 
Indictable offense convictions in New Jersey or if from any other state or jurisdiction, convictions for conduct which, if committed in New Jersey, would constitute an indictable offense;
(2) 
Disorderly persons convictions or municipal ordinance violations in New Jersey, or if from any other state or jurisdiction, convictions for conduct which, if committed in New Jersey, would constitute a disorderly persons offense or municipal ordinance violation; and
(3) 
Pending criminal charges.
B. 
It shall not be permissible for the City to conduct any criminal history inquiry, require any person to disclose or reveal or to take any adverse action against any person on the basis of:
(1) 
Any arrest or criminal accusation made against such person which is not then pending against that person and which did not result in a conviction; and
(2) 
Any records which have been erased, expunged, the subject of an executive pardon or otherwise legally nullified; or
(3) 
Any juvenile adjudications of delinquency or any records which have been sealed.

§ 114-13 Required evaluation considerations.

In connection with any decision regarding a license, the City shall consider the following factors in evaluating the applicant and the results of any criminal history inquiry conducted in accordance with the limitations of § 114-12:
A. 
Any information, if provided, pertaining to the degree of rehabilitation and good conduct or to the accuracy of the criminal record in question produced by the applicant, or produced on his or her behalf to the City, including but not limited to any certificate of rehabilitation issued by any state or federal agency, which indicates and includes but is not limited to certificates issued pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:168A-1 to 2A:168A-16;
B. 
The amount of time that has passed since the conviction(s) and/or release from custody; and
C. 
The nature of and circumstances surrounding the crime(s).

§ 114-14 Notice of adverse actions.

In connection with any adverse decision regarding a license:
A. 
If, after conducting a criminal history inquiry, this City makes a final determination adverse to the applicant resulting in the refusal of a license, the City shall, within a reasonable period of time:
(1) 
Provide the applicant with a copy of the results of the criminal history inquiry; and
(2) 
Provide the applicant with a written notice of rejection, specifically stating the reasons for rejection and including the City's consideration of the factors required under § 114-13 herein; and
(3) 
Advise the applicant of the opportunity for review under § 114-13 herein, including how the applicant may present evidence related to the City's consideration of the factors required under § 114-13 herein, and what kinds of evidence the applicant may present at that time.
B. 
A copy of all documents and notices required under Subsection A herein shall be mailed in one package, by registered mail, to the applicant.

§ 114-15 Opportunity for review of results by applicant.

In connection with any adverse decision regarding a license:
A. 
The applicant shall have 10 business days after receipt of the documents and notices required under the prior section herein to respond to the City regarding the results of the criminal history inquiry. The City shall provide the applicant with an opportunity to present information and evidence related to the accuracy and/or relevance of the results of the criminal history inquiry, including information pertaining to any of the factors listed in § 114-13A herein. The City must review all information and documentation received from the applicant prior to taking any final action as to whether to grant the applicant a license.
B. 
The City shall document, in writing, the information and evidence provided by the applicant under § 114-13A herein, the City's consideration of this information and evidence, and the City's final action, specifically stating the reasons for the final action taken. The City must, within a reasonable period of time, notify the applicant of the final action and provide the applicant a copy of the writings required under this subsection.

§ 114-16 Confidentiality.

In connection with any decision regarding a license, any information obtained by the City that pertains to an applicant's criminal history:
A. 
Shall remain confidential; and
B. 
Should only be shared with individuals who have a need to know the contents for the purpose of evaluating applicants in a manner consistent with this article; and
C. 
Shall not be used, distributed or disseminated by the City for any use other than those described in this article; and
D. 
Shall not be used, distributed or disseminated by the City to any other entity or individual, except as dictated by law.

§ 114-17 Exemptions.

A. 
The prohibitions of this article shall not apply:
(1) 
Where any federal or state law, regulation, or rule requires or permits the consideration of an applicant' s criminal history for purposes of a City license, provided the exemption is limited to those offenses or types of offenses and time periods that federal or state law, regulation or rule requires or permits the City to consider; and
(2) 
To any license sought in conjunction with a federal, state, or local government program or obligation that is designed specifically to encourage the licensing, employment, or entrepreneurship of individuals with criminal histories.
B. 
It is the intent of the City Council that exemptions under this article be interpreted narrowly.

§ 114-18 Enforcement.

The City of Atlantic City Business Administrator shall designate an office or department that shall enforce the provisions of this article.