06 Jun New Rental Laws
New Rental Laws
New rental laws are something all property management companies should be aware of. That’s because if a law or policy changes it could have an impact on their clients. Rental property owners who currently have a blanket ban on renting to people with criminal records could be charged with violating the federal Fair Housing Act. HUD’s new guidance presents a dilemma for landlords across the San Diego County. On one hand, a landlord could be charged with violating the federal Fair Housing Act if they have a blanket ban on renting to people with criminal records. And, on the other hand, a landlord who fails to screen prospective tenants for criminal records and rents to one who ends up robbing a neighbor can be sued by the victim.
2016 New Rental Law – Policy Change
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is making it easier for people with criminal records to find housing. People with criminal records are not a protected class, but blanket policies of refusing to rent to anybody with a criminal record are considered de facto discrimination. This is due to the fact that over 1/4 of Americans have been arrested at some time and the U.S. Criminal justice system arrests a disproportionately larger percentage of African and Hispanic Americans.
HUDS’s new guidelines warn owners could be breaking the law-even in there was no intention to discriminate. Housing Secretary Julian Castro puts it this way ”When landlords refuse to rent to anyone who has an arrest record, they effectively bar the door to millions of folks of color for no good reason.”
Property managers are not completely barred from considering criminal records, but have to prove the policy is legitimate. Saying criminals are poor tenants doesn’t cut it. Bald assertions based on generalization or stereotype isn’t sufficient. Landlord’s need to a policy that takes into consideration what the crime was and when it happened, as well as other factors, to reduce the discriminatory impact. The only firm exception s if a conviction was for manufacturing or distributing drugs.
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