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Fair Housing update: HUD warns landlords about criminal records

Apr 11, 2016
On April 4, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a document titled “Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions." The document sets forth guidance for landlords (and agents representing landlords) prohibiting policies or practices that restrict access to housing on the basis of a tenant’s criminal history. It should be noted that this does not make individuals with criminal records a protected class, rather it prohibits the policy of refusing housing to anyone with a criminal record. Furthermore, it requires landlords to look at criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis taking a number of factors under consideration. Landlords are also not required to accept every individual that has a criminal record. 
 
NYSAR and NAR have each published educational pieces to help assist members in understanding the new HUD policy. 
 
The NYSAR document can be found here.
 
The NAR document can be found here.
 
The HUD guidance document can be found here.
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