DOJ Now Weighs in on Criminal Background Checks and the Fair Housing Act
Last week in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) filed a statement of interest arguing that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires that landlords who consider criminal records in evaluating prospective tenants do not use overly broad generalizations that disproportionately disqualify people based on a legally protected characteristic, such as race or national origin. The case was brought by an organization that helps formerly incarcerated individuals find housing challenging the practices of an affordable rental apartment complex with 917 units in Far Rockaway, Queens.
The DOJ's statement of interest mirrors guidance released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earlier this year. Both NAA and MMHA have published guidance to our members on this issues. To see this guidance, please log on to MMHA's website and from the home page select the "legislative Resources" drop down found under "Advocacy."