Renting to Tenants with a Criminal History
On April 4, 2016 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a statement regarding the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to people trying to rent a home with a criminal history. While having a criminal background is not a characteristic protected under the FHA, HUD’s statement concluded that housing providers should not deny applicants because of a criminal history.
This is big news for landlords, realtors and property managers in Fairhope, Pensacola, Destin and across the U.S. who perform background checks on a daily basis. Now housing providers must show that their screening policy is justified.
Now, more than ever it becomes paramount for housing providers to create tailored criminal history-based policies and practices. In these policies do NOT create exclusions based on arrest records alone.
Look to exclude individuals based on criminal convictions that present a demonstrable risk to resident safety or the property itself. When doing this, it is important to take into consideration the amount of time that has passed since criminal conduct occurred, the nature and severity of the individual’s conviction and only after you have conducted individual assessments that consider mitigating factors such as the age at the time of conduct and any evidence of good tenancy.
Don’t, under any circumstance, make exceptions to a policy or practice for some, but not make the same exception for another individual. With these new regulations, it is important to consider criminal history uniformly, regardless of a person’s inclusion in a protected class.
If you’re struggling to find a tenant, or comply with FHA and HUD standards, let our professional property managers and in-house legal counsel help rent your property.