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Rice Bill to Establish Tenant Confidentiality Clears Committee

Trenton – In an effort to prevent tenant blacklisting, the Senate Community & Urban Affairs today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald Rice which would establish confidentiality of tenant records.
“By ensuring tenant confidentiality, we will effectively prohibit the practice of tenant blacklisting,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “Oftentimes when landlords are screening potential tenants, their previous housing court data comes up in the search. However, there is no context provided to explain why they were in court. This bill would seal landlord-tenant court records that did not result in a judgment for possession, allowing the renter to have a chance to seek housing freely without an appearance in housing court affecting their search.”
The bill, S-3387, would ensure that a landlord-tenant court record will remain confidential and unavailable to the public unless the court action results in the issuance of a judgment of possession from the tenant to the landlord.
Under the bill, landlords would be prohibited from considering previous landlord-tenant court records that are confidential or have been sealed when evaluating a prospective tenant. The bill would also provide that landlord-tenant actions be automatically sealed seven years after a judgment for possession is entered.
The bill would take effect six months from the date of enactment.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0.
Additionally, S-3343, also sponsored by Senator Rice, which would enhance protections against fraudulent deed recordings was also released from committee by a vote of 5-0.