As always, please seek competent council to ensure compliance with this issue of Denying Housing Over Criminal Record May Be Discrimination.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT WASHINGTON, DC 20410-0500 www.hud.gov espanol.hud.gov April 4, 2016 Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions

I. Introduction The Fair Housing Act (or Act) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of dwellings and in other housing-related activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.1 HUD’s Office of General Counsel issues this guidance concerning how the Fair Housing Act applies to the use of criminal history by providers or operators of housing and real-estate related transactions. Specifically, this guidance addresses how the discriminatory effects and disparate treatment methods of proof apply in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing provider justifies an adverse housing action – such as a refusal to rent or renew a lease – based on an individual’s criminal history. II. Background As many as 100 million U.S. adults – or nearly one-third of the population – have a criminal record of some sort.

2 The United States prison population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world.

3 As of 2012, the United States accounted for only about five percent of the world’s population, yet almost one quarter of the world’s prisoners were held in American prisons.

4 Since 2004, an average of over 650,000 individuals have been released annually from federal and state prisons,

5 and over 95 percent of current inmates will be released at some point.

6 When individuals are released from prisons and jails, their ability to access safe, secure and affordable housing is critical to their successful reentry to society.7 Yet many formerly incarcerated individuals, as well as individuals who were convicted but not incarcerated, encounter significant barriers to securing housing, including public and other federally-subsidized housing

Click here for the full guidance  General Counsel Guidance published by HUD on April 4, 2016

Hat tip to for emailing an alert to:

Law Office of Heist, Weisse & Wolk, P.A.

17264 San Carlos Blvd Ste 308 Ft Myers Beach, FL 33932 (Principal Address)
Available by appointment at:

2451 N McMullen Booth Rd., Ste. 244, Clearwater, FL 33759
37 N Orange Ave Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801

Phone: 1-800-253-8428

— APPLICANT SCREENING ALERT —
Based upon the General Counsel Guidance published by HUD on April 4, 2016 and the recent Supreme Court holding regarding “Disparate Impact” we are recommending to all our Florida clients that they review their “Resident Selection Criteria”, application process, policy and procedures immediately and implement NEW standards for rejection or approval of an applicant. This applies to ALL properties whether HUD or government subsidized, Tax Credit or conventional. There may be other rules for government funded or regulated properties which you must follow that may conflict with our recommendations.This is a general opinion of our firm and does not constitute any specific legal advice for any specific situation. As things are clarified, we will know more.
A SAFE HARBOR approach now would be to ignore the following:1. Misdemeanors of any kind2. Adjudication withheld, Dismissals, Pre Trial Diversions,  Nolle Prosse, Acquittal, etc. on any offenses3. Arrests on any offenses4. Illegal Drug or Controlled Substance or paraphernalia possession or use convictions
Examples of situations where you are “probably” safe for which to deny an applicant:1. Felonies of illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance within the last 7 years, felonies resulting in bodily harm or intentional damage or destruction of property for example, “arson”, within the last 7 Years2. Sexual related offenses for any time period

NOTE: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY SPECIFIC APPLICANT YOU MAY HAVE OR FOR YOUR RESIDENT SELECTION CRITERIA OR QUALIFICATIONS. LEGAL ADVICE WILL ONLY BE GIVEN ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS BY ONE OF OUR ATTORNEYS AFTER REVIEW OF A SPECIFIC MATTER. IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF A MATTER, CONTACT HARRY@EVICT.COM, BRIAN@EVICT.COM OR DAVE@EVICT.COM   Distributed April 7, 2016

As with anything. Please seek competent council to ensure compliance with this issue.