HUD Guidance on Tenant Screening
(April 7, 2016) This week HUD issued fair housing guidance that extends protections for individuals with criminal histories. The guidance seeks to end blanket exclusions of prospective residents based on criminal history in favor of a more individualized approach. Most notably, the new guidance:
- prohibits the use of arrest records to deny residency, and
- denials based on convictions must consider the nature and severity of the incident.
It is important to note that while individuals with criminal histories are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, HUD has developed the policy using disparate impact theory. Disparate impact allows fair housing complaints to proceed where actions have a discriminatory result even if there was no intent to discriminate.
NAA is drafting guidance and other resources for our members. A webpost from NAA and NMHC is available here.