In Light of Supreme Court’s Recent Decision in Nebraska, TenantScreeningUSA.com Highly Recommends All Landlords Work with Third-Party Tenant Screening Firms

On May 5, 2014 the United States Supreme Court denied a petition to review a lower court decision on a Nebraska immigration ordinance related to renting, potentially opening the door for additional laws banning landlords from renting to individuals or families living in the country illegally. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “The new city ordinance in Fremont, Nebraska is further evidence of increasing challenges presented to landlords in regards to laws governing renting and, ultimately, tenant screening; as well as highlights the need for landlords to work with a third-party screening company.”

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Based on this decision and continued action by the Federal government over the legal and lawful use of public documents, it is critical that landlords and property managers work with third-party tenant screening companies.

Waltham, MA (PRWEB) May 19, 2014

The town of Fremont, Nebraska, several years ago, enacted an ordinance banning renting to “immigrants living in the country illegally.” (http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/258023601.html) Due to this action two individuals and a landlord took legal action which ended up with the Eighth Circuit Court (http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/13/06/121702P.pdf) and, ultimately in the Supreme Court for review. (Docket Number: Keller v. City of Fremont, No. 13-1043).

On Monday, May 05, 2014, the Supreme Court made a decision in regards to action related to the Nebraska ordinance.

From the Star Tribune (May 05, 14)

The high court on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that found the ordinance doesn't discriminate against Latinos or interfere with federal immigration laws. http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/258023601.html)

The core issue with this ordinance is that it demands that landlords receive an “occupancy permit.”

From Bloomberg.com (May 05, 14):

Under the law, all prospective tenants must apply for an occupancy license, and non-citizens must include information about their immigration status. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-05/undocumented-immigrant-housing-ban-allowed-by-high-court.html

Renting a property is challenging enough. Landlords have to be careful in when and how they use public records in order to remain legally compliant. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Fair Trade Commission recently released a Joint Guidance over the specific use of public records in background screening and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Discriminatory Effects Standard formalizes their interpretation of the Fair Housing Act. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=discriminatoryeffectrule.pdf

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “The greatest concern over the use of public records is in regards to discrimination. Actions by the EEOC, FTC, and HUD are all about eliminating the potential of discrimination through any vetting process that includes public records and their interpretation.”

Staying compliant with laws and regulations is critical to landlords and property managers. Working with a third-party tenant screening company is the smartest and easiest way to remain compliant.

Almeida states: “The Supreme Court’s decision to not review Fremont’s city ordinance suggests that other cities may attempt to enact similar ordinances’. Subsequently, the potential of additional legal action remains, specifically by watchdog groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union. Based on this decision and continued action by the Federal government over the legal and lawful use of public documents, it is critical that landlords and property managers work with third-party tenant screening companies.”

The case is Keller v. City of Fremont, 13-1043.

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with an experienced staff highly trained in all aspects of tenant screening, including laws and regulations governing the use of public records. With tenant background check programs designed specifically for first-time and/or small unit landlords and property managers, TenantScreeningUSA.com can provide all the tenant screening tools required for a successful and legally compliant experience.


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