On September 23, 14 members of Congress, including Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Blaine Luetkemeyer, submitted a letter to HUD requesting additional information about HUD guidance on the application of Fair Housing Act standards regarding the use of criminal records when admitting tenants. According to the guidance, if a policy or practice that restricts access to housing on the basis of criminal history results in a disparate impact on individuals of a particular race, national origin, or other protected class, such a policy or practice may be unlawful under the Fair Housing Act, even if the provider had no intent to discriminate.
The letter explicitly states that the members of Congress agree that discrimination against individuals with criminal histories should be eradicated, however the letter notes concerns stemming from legal and operating questions for property owners, managers and tenants. Specifically, members of Congress request that HUD provide them with additional information on
- HUD’s steps to reconcile the guidance with judicial decisions, most specifically Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. the Inclusive Communities Project.
- HUD’s efforts to ensure uniformity in FHA compliance efforts pursuant to the rule.
- Research, analysis and data sources used by HUD in conceiving, drafting, and finalizing this guidance, along with information that HUD will use to support criminal screening policies and practices in HUD supported housing.
NAHRO’s Community Revitalization and Development and Housing Committees will meet at NAHRO’s National Conference in New Orleans to begin a white paper highlighting best practices that PHAs can follow to comply with the HUD guidance. NAHRO’s past coverage of HUD’s guidance can be found here.