Webinar Recording: What You Need to Know about Crime Screening and the Fair Housing Act



September 20, 2016

Originally recorded September 14, 2016

Author(s): Harry J. Kelly

Whether you own or operate market rate or affordable rental housing, if you are using crime records to screen prospective tenants, you could be violating the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHAct”).

Following on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on “disparate impact” in 2015, HUD’s Office of General Counsel issued guidance earlier this year confirming that the use of crime records as part of a tenant vetting process violates the FHAct by creating a disparate impact on minorities, who are arrested and convicted in disproportionate numbers compared to the general population.

So, what specifically is prohibited under the FHAct and HUD’s crime screening guidance? Listen to this informative webinar recording, as Harry Kelly and Lorrie O’ Connor dive into crime screening, covering topics including:

  • Disparate impact—How is it defined and how is that definition applied?
  • Crime screening—What is crime screening? What sort of fair housing problems does crime screening raise and when is it permissible? How would HUD determine if crime screening violates the FHAct? Are there less discriminatory alternatives for vetting prospective tenants?
  • Compliance—How can market-rate and affordable housing providers comply with the FHAct and HUD’s guidance? Are there policies and best practices your organization should consider adopting?

Harry Kelly, a Nixon Peabody partner, participated in briefing last year’s Supreme Court disparate impact decision and has spoken widely on HUD’s new crime screening rule. Lorrie O’Connor is the Vice President for Affordable Housing at The Benchmark Group, with deep experience in resolving tough property management issues.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.

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