Most landlords know that fair housing laws apply to the way you screen tenants and decide to accept or deny them. You must be careful across the nation now with criminal backgrounds. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has issued new fair housing guidelines about how what you can use when discriminating against people with a criminal past.

Tenant Screening and Criminal History

Generally, as a property manager or a landlord, we are really looking for major felonies like violence, fraud, and drug manufacturing when we’re screening tenants. The new HUD guidelines are specific and stringent on how you can discriminate against tenants who have committed these crimes. So, update yourself on these new policies and make sure you know what you can and cannot consider during your tenant screening process.

Setting Your Rental Criteria

When you’re screening, don’t look at criminal histories that go further back than the most recent 10 years. This can get you into trouble. Don’t consider a criminal record that is older than 10 years old. You also want to be careful about what types of crimes you won’t allow. Most of us providing property management in Phoenix, AZ know that you always have a good case when you’re talking about applicants with a violent past or prior convictions for drug manufacturing. However, if you have an applicant with a DUI, small drug charges, thefts, or old and minor fraud events, be careful. If the applicant otherwise has good credit, a stable job history, and acceptable landlord references, denying the tenancy based on those minor crimes could be problematic.

Talk to a professional when you’re preparing to screen and make a decision on a tenant. If you’re doing this on your own, take the time to educate yourself on the new HUD guidelines. They are trying to crack down on discrimination, and you don’t want to find yourself in trouble.  

If you have any questions about how to use your criminal background check or anything related to Phoenix property management, please contact us at HomeQwik.