Discussion of current events, news, the latest happenings in Omaha

Moderators: Coyote, Omaha Cowboy, Brad, nebugeater

New to the Neighborhood
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:40 pm


Postby vvindows10 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:07 pm

Prior to April of 2016 acceptable public policy was:

Landlords had the right to deny housing based on Felony Convictions and criminal activity that resulted in an arrest; as long as these standards were applied equally. This will now get you into big trouble with HUD.

In April of 2016 HUD issued some rather vague public memorandums on the subject of “Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions” (HUD MEMO), links are at the end of this rant.

In the HUD MEMO the word Felon was never used but the implications are that “Criminal Records” would include Felony convictions. The essence of this memo is that:

1. Blanket restrictions are no longer acceptable, as they may create a discriminatory effect on some minorities. ONLY methamphetamine production in federally-assisted housing and lifetime sex offender restrictions can still be safely applied as reasons for automatic denials.

2. Arrest records should not be considered you must rely only on convictions.

3. Even if only arrests leading to convictions are considered, the housing provider must develop a policy that does not treat everyone the same. The convictions themselves should be evaluated to consider:

a. The amount of time that has passed since the criminal conduct occurred.

b. The nature, severity, and recency of criminal conduct.

c. The determination of whether any particular criminal history-based restriction on housing must not be discriminatory (considerate of disparate impact). Each conviction and acceptance or denial of a person with a history of criminal convictions should be made on a case-by-case basis.

d. If, during an applicant’s admissions screening process, a conviction is pending or the applicant is arrested for violent or other disqualifying criminal activity. The owner may have discretion but shall make an eligibility determination according to the standards in the applicable written admissions policies of the PHA or owner.

The HUD MEMO fails to serve the landlord and public in many areas.
It does not specify the timeline standards that the landlord should adhere to.
It does not identify specific offenses that the landlord should consider as heinous in nature, warranting concern for other resident’s safety.
It does not name what documents the landlord must now obtain to place on the scale determining the severity of the convictions.
It does not offer guidance on how and at what cost the landlord is supposed to obtain the unidentified documents that detail the conviction(s) used to make the required case by case basis determination.

The HUD MEMO places the landlord / property owner in a precarious position each time a felon or someone with a recorded offense that shows up on a background check enters the leasing office. Each time a case by case basis is made it applies a different standard. If determining a standard offense and action based on that act was as easy as obtaining the conviction record we would not have any need for our justice system or the judges who administer it. It is not reasonable to mandate that the owner of every property reevaluate the criminal history of each applicant and apply a legal standard that is supposed to cover all applicants except those that are minorities.

It is not reasonable to expect that the landlord or owner will close down the office, make a trip to the courthouse in the offenders jurisdiction, and request documents regarding an applicants conviction as evidence to HUD that you have given each person due consideration on a case by case basis.

The end result will be a system that slowly allows all criminal activity as acceptable unless you wish to be sued by each applicant who feels you did not consider their facts on a case by case basis.

I am not an advocate that all prior history and actions should be treated the same. I understand that some event that occurred in the past is not relevant to who you are today. HUD’s guidelines are however very bad news for landlords. It is likely you already have a Fair Housing sign in your office. Now you might as well tape your checkbook to that poster so it is available to that first person you deny based on the background report.

Home Owners Association
Posts: 226
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:28 pm
Location: Omaha Metro Area


Postby debradomayer » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:38 pm

I may be mistaken, but non-compliance with this "Directive" can result in the Feds seizing a landlord's property. Big brother

Return to “News and Events”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest