Federal Ban-The-Box Measure Will Affect Tenant Screening; States TenantScreeningUSA.com

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President Obama announced a new Federal Ban-the-Box measure during a recent speech that will direct the Office of Personnel Management to “stop asking about convictions on applications and delay criminal history searches until later in the process.” (1) Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “The new measure by the President not only includes Ban-The-Box initiative but changes from HUD that would push Public Housing Agencies (PHA) to not consider Criminal Histories.”

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Ban-the-box has really altered the pre-employment background screening environment and, subsequently, new measures by HUD on a federal level will certainly add momentum to change in the way criminal records will be used in housing and tenant screening.

During a recent speech President Obama announced a new measure regarding Ban-the-Box that would have far reaching effects on hiring as well as housing.

From colorlines.com (Nov. 03, 15):

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released new guidelines that prevent PHAs from using arrest records to deny housing, terminate assistance or evict tenants. (2)

The use of criminal history has been one of the core public records utilized in tenant background checks. It is a critical and informative piece of data that helps property managers and landlords make informed decisions about potential tenants. The announcement from President Obama and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may substantively change the use of criminal history in tenant screening.

Almeida states: “With HUD issuing a recent guidance over the use of criminal history, the landscape for the legal and lawful use of criminal histories will most likely change in dramatic fashion. The landscape over the use of criminal histories will become challenging.”

From the Department of Housing and Urban Development (Nov. 02, 15):

The purpose of this Notice is to inform PHAs and owners of other federally-assisted housing that arrest records may not be the basis for denying admission, terminating assistance or evicting tenants, to remind PHAs and owners that HUD does not require their adoption of “One Strike” policies, and to remind them of their obligation to safeguard the due process rights of applicants and tenants. (3)

Ban-the-Box legislation has been a game changer in the employment market across the United States. Companies have abided by legislation and some companies have instituted Ban-the-Box measures without any legislation.

Almeida states: “Ban-the-box has really altered the pre-employment background screening environment and, subsequently, new measures by HUD on a federal level will certainly add momentum to change in the way criminal records will be used in housing and tenant screening.”

Finding housing is challenging enough, regardless of screening challenges, and for those with convictions finding housing is exponentially more difficult.

From TheNation.com (Nov. 04, 15):

Rules vary by city, but many local public housing authorities exclude people with a criminal record either completely or for several years, exacerbating bias that exists in the wider housing market. (4)

Almeida states: “In the end rules for using criminal records for tenant screening will change, over time, and will significantly impact landlords and property managers. It is and will be vital for landlords and property managers to work with 3rd party tenant screening companies to remain fully compliant with new and future laws governing the use of criminal histories as part of the tenant screening process.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company that provides tenant checks for property managers and landlords. With a highly trained staff TenantScreeningUSA.com can provide the most up-to-date and current data, as well as help landlords and property managers maintain legal standing with the use of criminal history records.

Notes:

(1)    colorlines.com/articles/obama-announces-federal-ban-box-measure-other-criminal-justice-reforms
(2)    colorlines.com/articles/obama-announces-federal-ban-box-measure-other-criminal-justice-reforms
(3)    portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PIH2015-19.pdf
(4)    thenation.com/article/public-housing-criminal-record/

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