The problem with criminal background discrimination in housing, according to HUD

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance on the use of criminal records in housing and real estate transactions. The guidance, from April 4, 2016, “addresses how the discriminatory effects and disparate treatment methods of proof apply in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing provider justifies an adverse housing action –such as a refusal to rent or renew a lease –based on an individual’s criminal history.”

From the conclusion, here is the main takeaway of what HUD had to say:

“While the [Fair Housing] Act does not prohibit housing providers from appropriately considering criminal history information when making housing decisions, arbitrary and overbroad criminal history-related bans are likely to lack a legally sufficient justification.

Thus, a discriminatory effect resulting from a policy or practice that denies housing to anyone with a prior arrest or any kind of criminal conviction cannot be justified, and therefore such a practice would violate the [Act]….

Policies that exclude persons based on criminal history must be tailored to serve the housing provider’s substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest and take into consideration such factors as the type of the crime and the length of the time since conviction.”

If you or anybody you know is facing housing discrimination for criminal background, please call HOPE at (305) 651-4673!

The entirety of the guidance can be read here:

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