Do you screen potential tenants for criminal history? Not so fast!

screening for criminal history

Yesterday, the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a letter about the Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate Related Transaction. They specifically suggest that the “disparate impact” of using criminal background to screen tenants is discrimination.
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc…

Jane Garvey with Chicago Creative Investors Association shares that “We have been told by many local governments that we cannot rent to people with criminal backgrounds. And, in many communities with Crime Free housing laws, if someone is arrested (merely accused of a crime) we can be forced to evict them. Now at the Federal level, we are being told that we can’t draw a line in the sand and refuse to rent based on a person having a criminal background. The laws are in conflict, and we are stuck in the middle. The penalties range from loss of the right to rent our property on one side to tens of thousands of dollars of fines on the other. It is truly wrong!”

If you own rental property you need to be aware of this, and be taking action now. What action? Get on the phone and call your Senator and Representative in Washington, DC, your Senator and Representative in Springfield, and the City Officials in any community where you own rental property.

You can find contact information at:
Federal Members of Congress:https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map
Illinois State Representatives: http://il–nea.capwiz.com/nea/il/directory/statedir.tt…
Local – google search your various municipalities

Your next action should be to let other property owners know about this and ask them to take action as well.

Please post this information to social media as well.

More information to come from National REIA this week.

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