A recent decision by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says landlords can’t broadly deny housing to people with criminal histories, and that rubs Rep. Daniel Donovan the wrong way.
The new HUD guidelines say because of the high rate of incarceration of blacks and Latinos, denying housing to someone with a criminal background could be de facto discrimination.
“Across the United States, African Americans and Hispanics are arrested, convicted and incarcerated at rates disproportionate to their share of the general population,” the memo reads. “Consequently, criminal records-based barriers to housing are likely to have a disproportionate impact on minority home seekers.”
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) makes it illegal for a housing provider to deny housing to someone due to discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin or family status.
While criminal history isn’t listed, HUD has interpreted the act to extend to those minorities whose criminal backgrounds might be used against them to deny them housing.