HUD Demands a New Approach to Consideration of Criminal History.
Just over one year ago the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a guidance relating to considering criminal history on applicants for rental housing. A Supreme Court decision on disparate impact prompted HUD to assess whether prior guidance relating to criminal history leading to denial of a prospective tenant may violate the Fair Housing Act.
Although criminals are not a protected class, HUD determined that current laws could be interpreted such that policies based upon criminal history appear to be discriminatory since statistically more Blacks and Hispanics have criminal history than other ethnic groups.
The HUD guidance was originally published April 4, 2016, however it is only just recently, with increased efforts by the department of Fair Housing in auditing rental company policies and criteria, that the rental industry is being made aware of new, encouraged policies toward assessing rental applications containing criminal history.
The HUD Guidance suggests that:
- Arrests cannot be the sole basis for excluding an applicant.
- Landlords must have an important and verifiable legitimate business interest to deny an applicant for a prior conviction.
- Applicants should have the ability to appeal for a review of a denial and provide mitigating circumstances and information.
Whereas previously applications containing a conviction of a federal crime within the past 5-years may have been rejected, now in accordance with new guidance, the applicants credit history and references should first be reviewed before criminal history becomes a consideration. Arrests, by themselves, should not be consideration for denial, and it is recommended that the following factors be considered as to each crime:
- How long ago was the conviction
- When was the person released from prison
- Is the person on probation, parole, or have other remaining conditions
- Was the offense isolated or has there been continuing issues
- What was the person’s age at the time of the offense
- Is there evidence of any continuation of drug use
- Is there any indication of continuing criminal involvement
In order to consider these questions, applicants with criminal history should be asked to complete a criminal history questionnaire. However, this information should not be reviewed until after the applicant has had credit history and references checked and approved. It is only at this point that a criminal background check should be conducted, and criminal history questionnaire reviewed. It is suggested that certain applicants may be accepted with conditions relevant to the crime as a less discriminatory alternative to denial. Rental criteria should be clearly stated in writing to all applicants in advance of an application being submitted. Should an applicant be denied due to criminal history, that applicant must be offered the opportunity to appeal.
This new review process is a much more individualized analysis than past protocol, in fact the rules of the past have now become more guidelines, which require greater experience in the industry to assure compliance with the new Guidance. This is an area where self-managed rental property investors could easily trip up and find him/herself slapped with a sizable fine and possible lawsuit.
- Roof & Siding inspections will be scheduled over the next several weeks
- Water heater inspections charges will appear in your July statement
Accounting Updates – HOW TO VIEW Line Item Detail for Maintenance Billings
We sometimes receive inquiries from clients who would like to view item detail on their maintenance billings. This information is available to you in your Owner Portal on our website.
- The Owner Portal is accessed on the right side of the Home page of our website just under the rotating photograph.
- Once you have logged in you will see a menu list in the left column.
- Select NOTES and a window will open up on the Dashboard.
- Within the NOTES window you will see pdf files listed by date.
- Some will appear as “Month 2017 – Owner Statement”.
- And if you have maintenance charges you will see “Month 2017 – Maintenance”.
If, once you have viewed the maintenance invoices you still have questions, please contact Karen@rentalsinboise for an explanation.
The hot summer weather has finally arrived. And with it comes the usual yard maintenance issues. This is when it becomes apparent that a sprinkler head has failed, or is pointing in the wrong direction. Our team is out and about conducting drive bys to check up on the condition of front lawns, shrubs and plantings.
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