The Federal Government recently came out with a new guideline that says landlords can’t refuse to rent to criminals.
“The fact that you were arrested shouldn’t keep you from getting a job and it shouldn’t keep you from renting a home,” Castro said Monday at an annual meeting of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “When someone has been convicted of a crime and has paid their debt to society, then they ought to have an effective second chance at life. The ability to find housing is an indispensable second change in life.”
We all know that Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability. It is landmark legislation and only a complete moron would ever even consider being in violation of this Federal law. But now, we see that convicts should be added to the list.
Basically, if you are a landlord, you are now being asked to look the other way if someone has a criminal record. Of course, they say there are exceptions for people convicted of manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs. I didn’t see anything mentioned about murder, theft, fraud, etc. This should be an interesting one to follow as there will clearly be people of differing opinions on what constitutes a criminal, and who should or should not be allowed to lease their home or apartment.
Our Federal Government says that certain minorities are over-represented behind bars, so a landlord that doesn’t want to allow someone convicted of a crime to live in his or her property must be a racist. For professional help with landlord and tenant matters, check out paralegal Toronto.
“HUD says that landlords may be allowed to bar those with criminal records from living in a facility, but they will have to prove that such a policy is necessary for protecting the safety of other tenants, and designed to avoid illegal discrimination.”
It will be interesting to see how the application process begins to change with these changes. If you are a property owner or if you are thinking of investing in real estate, just remember that pink underwear is no longer a thing to discriminate against…
Tiffany Cloud says
This one is a can of worms. I see many property managers that refuse to rent to former felons, etc. This will have to be tested thru the court system before we have any definite answers. Trial and Error.
Nick Bastian says
I agree, Tiff.
Not a test most landlords will want to have to pass OR fail.
Lorna Dorran says
I think as a landlord, it’s his responsibility to ensure the safety of his tenants, and not to accept a criminal is justifiable by his obligation. While this goes differently with ex convicts and yes I think this has to be tested thru the court system.
Lorna Dorran |
Tom Clarkin says
The type of offense must surely be a factor here. Persons with violent or drug related convictions could pose a safety threat to other tenants.
Mary Pope-Handy says
Just seeing this now – what a scary law for landlords to have to deal with. Doesn’t make sense to me since felons are not a protected class. I guess they wanted to leave it on a case-by-case basis since some felons will also belong to a protected class (i.e., if they are mentally ill).
Can of worms is right.
We Buy Houses Washington DC says
So how are landlords going to navigate with this new policy? Well, I would expect that risk-adverse landlords will cut down or stop requesting criminal history information all together.