What? I Have To Rent To a Criminal?
Not exactly but the rental world is about to change. Many property managers have a current policy to deny rental application based solely on the fact that the potential tenant has been convicted of a crime. This policy now violates Federal law which carries a fine of up to $16,000 for a first offense.
On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of HUD issued guidance that a landlord cannot deny a rental application based solely on the fact that the tenant was convicted of a crime. HUD considers such a blanket prohibition to be a violation of Federal Fair Housing laws since such a policy has a disparate impact on certain races. Landlords must make a case-by-case decision on potential tenants convicted of a crime based on the nature, severity and recency of the criminal conduct. A landlord should also consider mitigating factors such as the age of the potential tenant when the crime was committed, the facts surrounding the criminal conduct, rental history before and after the crime, and evidence of rehabilitation. The considerations listed above will help a landlord institute a policy that “distinguishes criminal conduct that indicates a demonstrable risk to resident safety and/or property and criminal conduct that does not.” In short, landlords and property managers need to reevaluate their policies to make sure they are compliant with Federal law.
*This article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation and varies from state to state. If you have specific questions about this issue or another real estate matter, please contact the Law Office of Aaron Green, PC.