Special Episode: HUD Criminal History Screening Update - The Fair Housing Institute, Inc.

Special Episode: HUD Criminal History Screening Update

In today’s special episode featured on our YouTube channel, we dive deep into the intricacies of the newly proposed HUD regulations concerning criminal history screening—an area sparking considerable discussion and queries within our property management community. With expert insights, let’s unpack these developments and understand their implications for housing providers.

The spotlight of our discussion centers on the proposed regulations issued by HUD on April 10th. It’s crucial to note that these are not yet finalized; they represent a preliminary view of what may eventually become law. This allows the public and stakeholders to voice opinions during the comment period, which concluded on June 10th. While these regulations are expected to see minor adjustments, the core of the proposed changes is likely to remain.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

New Criminal History Suggested Guidlines

What are these proposed regulations?

What are the significant aspects of the proposed regulations? There is a particular focus on changes to criminal history screening procedures that will impact Housing Authorities, HUD-funded properties, and those with HUD-backed mortgages.

One of the pivotal changes involves the look-back period for screening applicants’ criminal records. The proposed regulations aim to limit this period to no more than three years. HUD suggests that considering older convictions could be deemed unreasonable, thus shaping a more forgiving approach towards individuals with past criminal records.

Another notable shift is the mandatory individualized assessments for applicants flagged by criminal background checks. This requirement ensures a more humane approach, allowing applicants to discuss mitigating circumstances that may explain their criminal history. This shift from discretionary to mandatory assessments could significantly affect processing applications.

The proposed rules also address the termination of leases based on criminal activity during tenancy. Terminating decisions must now be based on a preponderance of evidence rather than mere allegations or suspicions. This higher standard aims to ensure fairness and protect the rights of residents.

How should housing providers respond to this new information?

While the new regulations are still being considered, housing providers are advised not to alter their current policies immediately. Instead, they should prepare for eventual changes once the final regulations are published. The proposed regulations signify a move towards more inclusive and equitable practices in housing, aligning with the broader objectives of the Fair Housing Act.

A significant concern among property managers relates to liability issues. The reduction in the look-back period could potentially expose housing providers to risks if residents with past criminal records engage in harmful activities. However, the new framework aims to balance safety concerns with the need for fair housing opportunities, suggesting that additional protective measures may be legislated at the state level.

How are third-party screening services affected by these proposed regulations? 

The biggest question seems to be whether third-party screening services should continue to be used. While HUD does not favor these due to their lack of consideration for individual circumstances, they are not prohibited. Housing providers using these services must ensure they retain full responsibility for the screening criteria applied, understanding that they bear ultimate liability for the decisions made.

Closing Thoughts: HUD’s Proposed Regulations

It’s clear that the proposed HUD regulations on criminal history screening will significantly change property management practices. These changes aim to foster a more forgiving approach towards individuals with past criminal records, emphasizing fairness and individual assessment.

We look forward to continuing this conversation and providing further updates as they become available. Stay informed, stay compliant, and, most importantly, stay committed to fair housing practices.

Happy training!

You May Also Like:

The Fair Housing Institute

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.