The Obama administration released a disturbing warning on Monday to America’s landlords telling them it may be discriminatory for them to refuse to rent to people with criminal records.
According to Daily Caller, though the Fair Housing Act doesn’t include criminals as a protected class, Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development claims that refusing to rent based on a criminal record is a form of racial discrimination, due to racial imbalances in the U.S. justice system.
“The Fair Housing Act prohibits both intentional housing discrimination and housing practices that have an unjustified discriminatory effect because of race, national origin, or other protected characteristics,” say HUD’s newly-released guidelines. “Because of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system, criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African-Americans and Hispanics. While the Act does not prohibit housing providers from appropriately considering criminal history information when making housing decisions, arbitrary and overbroad criminal history-related bans are likely to lack a legally sufficient justification.”
About 25% of Americans have a criminal record which range from felony convictions to arrests that never led to charges.
“The fact that you were arrested shouldn’t keep you from getting a job and it shouldn’t keep you from renting a home,” HUD Secretary Julian Castro said Monday at an annual meeting of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “When someone has been convicted of a crime and has paid their debt to society, then they ought to have an effective second chance at life. The ability to find housing is an indispensable second change in life.”
Landlords who violate the Fair Housing Act face fines that can amount anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars, so they will have no choice but to house violent felons should they apply for housing. What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.