Private landlords in the past had no problem when it came to not renting to individuals who might have criminal records but times are changing and thanks to the Fair Housing Act private landlords can no longer not rent to somebody because they might have been arrested or had a conviction in the past.
This week HUD Secretary Julian Castro issued a warning to private landlords stating that they now must closely follow the essence of the Fair Housing Act and can no longer not rent to somebody who might have an arrest or conviction in their past. If a private landlord chooses to not rent an individual because of their record, they must prove that their exclusion is in fact justified.
Some of the reasons that private landlords may choose not to rent to someone with someone with a criminal past might include the severity or nature of the crime and if the individual either produced or sold illegal drugs.
A Common Ban Now Coming To an End
In a recent interview Julian Castro stated that housing bans on former criminals or offenders who have served their time are fairly common but the sad thing is that many of the convictions happened a long, long time ago and the individual is still paying for something that they did in years past long after they got out of prison.
“Many people who are coming back to neighborhoods are only looking for a fair chance to be productive members, but blanket policies like this unfairly deny them that chance.” – Julian Castro
Source – Nytimes.com
To state their case in court an individual who might have a criminal past must show that a private landlord’s decision to not rent to them has had a disparate impact on their life and they must prove that the landlord made their choice with discriminatory intent.
Castro stated in a recent interview that Latinos and blacks are two minority groups that face the highest rate of disparate impact and discrimination in the housing industry because both groups often get arrested and ultimately imprisoned in far more disproportionate numbers than whites or other minority groups do.
Landlords Must Revise Their Screening Procedures
There’s no denying that in 2016 Landlords Must revise their screening procedures to avoid being taken to court, fined or worse by a renter to clients discrimination against them. This is especially important since the Obama administration has been actively releasing people back into society after they are then serving months or years from minor drug convictions.
Studies show that one of the biggest reasons why former prisoners ultimately end up back in prison is because they were turned down time and again for housing but, those prisoners who were fortunate enough to have their rental applications accepted are ultimately able to find jobs and have careers outside of prison
Research shows that obtaining housing reduces recidivism. But groups like Fortune Society said they have encountered landlords who ban tenants with criminal histories without individual reviews or any regard to evidence of rehabilitation or whether the person poses a threat to safety.
Some landlord groups said owners had the right to exercise their own judgment given the liability they face from other tenants if the person commits another crime. Some have partial bans and screen only for certain crimes, such as sex offenses or arson, or allow those who were convicted of misdemeanors but not felonies.
(Landlords can continue to exclude those convicted of manufacturing or distributing drugs, the only crimes that are exempted under the Fair Housing Act.)
Source – Nytimes.com
What Is the Fair Housing Act?
If you’re just getting started with investing in Portland Oregon rental properties, or real estate elsewhere across the United States, one of the most important things that you have to become aware of is the Fair Housing Act.
In the United States the fair housing act was enacted in the 1960s to protect all individuals from housing discrimination, it was approved thanks to the two hard work of the Johnson Administration after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
The Fair Housing Act is a federal act in the United States intended to protect the buyer or renter of a dwelling from seller or landlord discrimination. Its primary prohibition makes it unlawful to refuse to sell, rent to, or negotiate with any person because of that person’s inclusion in a protected class. The goal is a unitary housing market in which a person’s background (as opposed to financial resources) does not arbitrarily restrict access. Calls for open housing were issued early in the twentieth century, but it was not until after World War II that concerted efforts to achieve it were undertaken.
Source – Wikipedia
The Need for Professional Property Management
With this renewed focus on the Fair Housing Act professional property management comes even more important than ever before since with property management an owner or investor can take all responsibilities of property management out of their hands and place them in the hands of credible professionals who also specialize in following all aspects of the law including the Fair Housing Act.
Some of the other areas that professional property management can benefit any property owner or investor include:
- On time rent collection.
- Professional management of the property including maintenance and upkeep.
- Tenant selection and screening.
- And So much more!
Hiring a professional property management company will truly take the guesswork out of managing your rental properties so you can focus on doing what you do best, acquiring more properties and managing your portfolio.
Get Portland Oregon Property Management
For professional Portland Oregon property management contact Property Management Systems today by calling us at (503) 515-3170 or click here to connect with us online.