Why a criminal record isn’t always enough to reject an applicant
05/11/2016 | Author: TAR Legal Staff
New guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that a policy of refusing to rent to anybody with a criminal record could be discrimination.
The reasoning behind this?
The Fair Housing Act prohibits both intentional housing discrimination and housing practices that have a discriminatory effect on protected classes. HUD says that because of racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system, criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely to disproportionately affect African Americans and Hispanics. That doesn’t mean you can’t consider criminal history information when making housing decisions, but arbitrary and broad criminal history-related bans may violate the Fair Housing Act.
Get more information on this from NAR, including a suggested list of do’s and don’ts for your housing policies and practices. Also, NPR offers an explanation of the ruling in more accessible language.
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