TenantScreeningUSA.com Reviews Recent Court Actions on Illegal Immigration, State v. Federal Law and Tenant Screening

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In light of proposed changes in the United Kingdom requiring landlords to conduct "Immigration Checks," as well as several court cases in the United States over renting to illegal immigrants, TenantScreeningUSA.com highly recommends landlords and property managers understand and remain compliant with legal tenant screening practices.

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Keeping a rental property is difficult enough, but with the recent court actions over immigration and housing have created more confusion. Working with a third-party tenant screening company is really the best way to stay compliant.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "Challenges to immigration laws continue to arise in various municipalities thereby creating significant confusion for landlords on what is legal in regards to tenant screening; subsequently, one should work with a third-party tenant screening company to remain compliant within a rapidly changing legal environment."

As recently reported on Lexology.com (Oct. 09, 13), landlords in the United Kingdom are facing the new challenge of verifying legal immigration status with new tenants.

For a UK citizen, a landlord will need to check a UK passport, naturalization certificate, right of abode certificate, birth certificate or adoption certificate plus either a national insurance number or a UK driving license. For a foreign national without leave to remain, a landlord will need to check either an Application Registration Card (ARC) held by asylum seekers or a Home Office letter of authorisation...http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=8918ac5b-f47d-4f83-be72-10a6b35d9eff
The unintended result of this regulation would be landlords choosing to rent to British individuals as landlords would not "need to make more regular checks on these tenants." (ibid)

In the United States some cities are attempting to control illegal immigration via regulations governing rental housing. While many of these attempts have been brought down by district court action, the court actions may have created confusion amongst landlords and/or property managers in regards to renting.

In the last few years the state of Alabama (Case Nos. 11-14532; 11-14674 D.C. Docket No. 2:11-cv-02746-SLB), and cities of Fremont, Nebraska (Case Nos. 12-1702, 12-1705, 12-1708) ; Hazelton, PA (Case No. 07-3531); and Farmers Branch, TX (Case No. 10-10751) have lost court decisions over ordnances, regulations, or laws enacted to control illegal immigration specifically through housing due to federal preemption. http://campbelllawobserver.com/2012/08/rent-to-illegal-aliens-landlord-you-may-be-penalized/

Federal preemption is based on the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, clause 2) of the United States Constitution:

Federal preemption is a legal term used when the Constitution or Congress give(s) the federal government exclusive power to legislate on an issue. Under the Constitution, federal law is the supreme law of the land, and when a state law clashes with federal law, it's up to the courts to decide whether the state law is preempted by federal law. If a judge decides that either a specific provision or the entire state law is preempted, the measure is declared unconstitutional. http://www.immigrationworksusa.org/index.php?p=192

As reported in the Montgomery Adviser (Oct. 29, 13) the state of Alabama has settled its lawsuits pertaining to AB 56. http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20131029/NEWS/310290031/Alabama-civil-rights-groups-DOJ-reach-agreement-HB-56-lawsuit

The city of Fremont, NE has decided to review its ordnance. As reported in the Fremont Tribune (Oct. 28, 13)

The Fremont City Council is scheduled to consider removing portions of the city's ban on renting housing to people who aren't in the United States legally. http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/nebraska/fremont-may-change-city-ban-on-renting-to-illegal-immigrants/article_f920a2a0-0f82-55a8-b0eb-7845e09a4bfd.html

Hazelton, PA and Farmer's Branch, TX continue to appeal respect court rulings, and both communities plan to pursue the issue to the United States Supreme Court.
On October 24, 2013 the Hazleton (PA) Times-Tribune reported:

An attorney for Hazleton will ask the nation's highest court to hear its appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that declared the city's never-enforced immigration ordinances unconstitutional. http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/hazleton-attorney-will-ask-supreme-court-to-hear-immigration-law-appeal-1.1574167
And in Farmer's Branch, TX "...the council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court its rental ordinance’s latest failure in court." http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/carrollton-farmers-branch/headlines/20130820-farmers-branch-votes-to-continue-rental-ban-fight.ece

In the end laws and regulations that govern tenant screening will continue to evolve. Whether it is action overseas that may influence domestic activity, or actions stated herein by states and cities, change will continue to happen. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "Keeping a rental property is difficult enough, but with the recent court actions over immigration and housing have created more confusion. Working with a third-party tenant screening company is really the best way to stay compliant with state and Federal law governing tenant screening."

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening firm that remains current on all state and federal laws and legal actions that may impact the tenant screening industry. Specializing in small to mid-size rental properties, TenantScreeningUSA.com can greatly assist a landlord/property manager remain legally compliant.

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