“The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children.” A new ruling from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development says that Convicted Criminals are not a protected class but they are protected from discrimination under these new rules.
“Today, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) welcomes new guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which makes clear that blanket bans on renting to people with criminal records is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Further, the new guidance puts private landlords on notice that they can be sued and face penalties for applying large-scale bans. Not only do such bans unfairly deny people a place to live, GNOFHAC investigations have revealed that overly broad policies that bar criminal backgrounds are often a pretext for racial discrimination.”
“The new guidance further says that landlords must distinguish between arrests and convictions, and cannot use an arrest to ban applicants. In the case of convictions, property owners should prove that the exclusion is justified, and weigh factors such as the nature and severity of the crime.”
Criminal convictions can’t be used to deny housing or to mask discrimination…to read more here is the opinion from the HUD Attorney’s……Criminal Convictions and Fair Housing…
From the NY Times, HUD Warns Against Blanket Bans on Convicted Offenders