On April 4, 2016, HUD issued a fair housing guidance which appears to provide some protection to individuals with criminal history. This new Guidance prohibits the use of arrest records to deny an applicant. It also requires that landlords who deny based upon convictions consider the nature of the crime, the severity of the crime, and the amount of time that has passed.
The Guidance states that blanket exclusions based upon general criminal history likely violate the fair housing act. Landlords need to tailor their approach to criminal history to an individualized basis. The review should take into account factors that specifically narrowed to achieve the safety and security goals of the property.
Management and owners of rental housing need to immediately review and revise their policies relating to the use of criminal history in the application process.
All are encouraged to get with their legal counsel to review current policies and revise them in such a way as to be compliant with the new guidance.