The Use of Criminal Records May Become a Challenge in Tenant Screening, States TenantScreeningUSA.com

Share Article

As Ban-the-box legislation takes off the question of criminal history from employment applications, the same question regarding a criminal record will eventually be pulled from Tenant Applications, states TenantScreeningUSA.com. "With the rapid expansion of Ban-the-Box, continued litigation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and recent move by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to ban the use of criminal histories as part of tenant screening public housing applicants points to a potentially significant change and challenge to Tenant Screening," Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com recently acknowledged.

Tenant Screening USA

TenantScreeningUSA.com

Continued litigation by the EEOC over the fair and lawful use of criminal histories, specifically as a potentially discriminatory practice, could eventually transition to litigation by HUD regarding the same potential issue.

In pre-employment screening Ban-the-Box legislation removes the question of a criminal history from applications and fundamentally changes when, or if, a criminal history can be used as part of employment vetting. Combined with recent moves by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to curtail the use of criminal history records as part of tenant screening public housing applicants a substantive change in tenant screening could be coming in 2016.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "Criminal records and the use thereof will remain in question as an effective tool in screening individuals for rental properties and employment in the coming year. Continued litigation by the EEOC over the fair and lawful use of criminal histories, specifically as a potentially discriminatory practice, could eventually transition to litigation by HUD regarding the same potential issue."

Across the country the rental housing market has become tight and finding available properties for renters difficult. Landlords seemingly have the advantage on selecting renters. In Portland Maine the rental market favors the landlord.

From PressHerald.com (Nov. 15, 15):

... great for landlords, who charge prospective tenants just for applying, require upfront lease payments of several thousand dollars and get to be highly selective about who lives in their buildings. (1)

Thanks to the tight marketplace some landlords can tighten rental policies to the point of being restrictive.

From timescall.com (Sep. 07, 15)

"Tenants come to me all the time with some kind of criminal history. I don't care if you took a joyride when you were 16, but I will not tolerate felonies of any sort, or violence toward women, whether it's misdemeanors or felonies," McFadden said. "I've got single women and children here, and so if it's anything like that — a registered sex offender of any sort — I don't care what they say, it's not an option." (2)

However, in Seattle another approach is being taken by community activists and attempting to ease or eliminate criminal background records as a part of the tenant screening process.

From myNorthwest.com (Dec. 12, 15):

"The FARE (Fair Access to Renting for Everyone) campaign has some city council backers and plays into Mayor Ed Murray's expressed interest in reducing barriers to housing for people with criminal records, The Times says.

FARE wants to mirror Seattle's legislation related to the national "Ban the box" movement that restricts employers from using conviction and arrest records during the hiring process." (3)

Almeida states: "Based on recent actions by HUD and the on-going Ban-the-box activity, significant change over the use of criminal histories could affect tenant screening and now is the time for all landlords and property managers to work with third-party tenant screening companies in order to remain compliant and avoid any potential and expensive litigation."

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that offers thorough, affordable, and secure tenant checks for property managers large and small. TenantScreeningUSA.com is fully compliant with all local, state, and federal regulations that enforce the tenant screening industry. They are also a proud member of NAPBS.

Notes:

(1)    pressherald.com/2015/11/15/landlords-use-power-hot-market-charge-pick-best-tenants-upgrade-properties-sometimes-neglect/
(2)    timescall.com/news/ci_28771607/criminal-histories-rental-applications-dont-mix-longmonts-competitive?source=mostpopular
(3)    mynorthwest.com/832/2871064/Curley-Incentivize-landlords-to-rent-to-tenants-with-criminal-backgrounds

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dan Adams
Visit website