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Real Estate Law: Landlords Can't Refuse To Rent To Criminals

 Posted on June 16, 2016 in Taxation Law

On April 4, 2016, at the National Low Income Housing Coalition Policy Forum, the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro announced, "HUD will use the full force of the law to protect the fair housing rights of folks who've been arrested or who're returning to their communities after serving time in jail or prison."

Roughly 100 million adults in the United States have a criminal record. That is about a third of the population and Castro identifies Black and Latinos being arrested at disproportionately higher levels as unfair. He cites statistics that while drug use is consistent across the population, brown and black people are more likely to be arrested for drug violations. This is a new interpretation of real estate law.

Castro believes many landlords instantly and without thought refuse to rent to criminals and those with an arrest record, no matter how long ago the conviction, and disproportionately affecting millions of people of color without good cause. The Federal government seeks to end this practice.

HUD will not tolerate the one-strike policies of landlords. It will no longer be acceptable to ban those with an arrest record from renting either private or public housing. However, landlords may create policies that thoughtfully examine convictions found on a criminal background check. A conviction should actually suggest a person would not make a good tenant. Landlords must also consider factors the crime is not likely repeated.

If you would like to talk more about renting to criminals, or need more information on real estate law, please contact us.

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