Potential Rule Change in Department of Housing and Urban Could Change Decision Making for Landlords; Opines TenantScreeningUSA.com

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Recent reports suggest that HUD, Department of Housing and Urban Development, is looking to relax or eliminate rules enacted in 2015 that allow protections from discrimination in housing via disparate impact legal actions. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines: “Disparate impact is a legal theory often utilized in discrimination legal actions and elimination or relaxing disparate impact claims should alert landlords and property managers to a potential change in the legal environment and a best practice remains to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as TenantScreeningUSA.com.”

Tenant Background Checks Include Credit Reports, Eviction Records, Criminal Background Records and Leasing Recommendations.

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With such a big proposal all landlords and property managers should be on alert and working with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency can help with compliance laws.

Disparate impact has long been an important legal defense in cases of discrimination, especially in housing. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines; “The Department of Housing and Urban Planning may be poised to change laws governing discrimination in housing and this should immediately alert landlords and property managers to ensure their tenant screening practices and policies are current by working with a third-party tenant screening agency, such as TenantScreeningUSA.com, in order to remain compliant and ahead of changes in law.”

Disparate impact is a challenging concept, especially as related to housing laws and discrimination, and a significant shift will occur if the use of disparate impact is changed, according to recent reports.

From Curbed.com (Aug 19, 19):

Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced a proposal that would overhaul the Disparate Impact rule, a 2013 regulation from the Obama administration that created uniform standards for the application of disparate impact—the idea that a policy can be discriminatory even if discrimination is not the policy’s intent—in housing discrimination lawsuits.

The new rule would dramatically shift the burden of proof to the plaintiff in housing discrimination cases, making such lawsuits “impossible,” according to numerous fair housing advocates. (1)

Almeida opines: “The impact on housing could be significant. Landlords and property managers should be prepared for the unknown.”

Ultimately, the rule change may prove controversial and could increase confusion regarding laws governing housing.

From an Op-Ed piece in the Los Angeles Times,

HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the proposed rule is intended to “increase legal clarity” by setting new guidelines for how to prove a disparate-impact claim in the wake of the 2015 ruling. But civil rights advocates say the proposal could have far-reaching effects across the housing industry, whose history is fraught with segregation and discrimination that continue to this day, often in insidious ways.

The new rule could make it harder to challenge cities that exacerbate segregation with exclusionary zoning rules that limit the supply of affordable housing; harder to go after banks whose underwriting standards result in higher fees and interest rates for minority home buyers; and harder to crack down on landlords who rely on algorithm-driven background checks that cause families, immigrants or racial minorities to be excluded. (2)

Almeida concludes: “In the end, a big change such as what is being proposed should alert landlords and property managers to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency in order to remain fully compliant with existing and potential law.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com provides full service tenant screening for landlords and property managers of any size and can greatly assist in remaining fully compliant with all existing law governing tenant screening. With a highly trained and experienced staff, TenantScreeningUSA.com can provide help to landlords and property managers with all their tenant screening needs.

Notes:
(1)    curbed.com/2019/8/19/20812039/disparate-impact-hud-fair-housing-ben-carson
(2)    latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-23/trump-hud-disparate-impact-housing-discrimination

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