Understanding and following Arizona Fair Housing laws can be difficult if you don't work with a Phoenix Property Management Company. Here are some tips we've put together for you.
“While having a criminal record is not a protected characteristic under the Fair Housing Act, criminal history-based restrictions on housing opportunities violate the Act if, without justification, their burden falls more often on renters or other housing market participants of one race or national origin over another (i.e., discriminatory effects liability). 9 Additionally, intentional discrimination in violation of the Act occurs if a housing provider treats individuals with comparable criminal history differently because of their race, national origin or other protected characteristic (i.e., disparate treatment liability). (Section III).”
Basically what this means is this:
- Arrest records are not a lawful reason to deny a rental applicant.
- Convicted criminals may be denied housing if the reason for their convictions clearly demonstrates that the safety of your
residentsand/or property are at risk. Verbiagein your screening criteria cannot say “all criminal convictions will be denied” this would now be considered discriminatory and in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
It now falls upon the landlord to determine if an applicant would pose a demonstrable risk to resident safety and/or property. Relying solely on a tenant background check is no longer an option. A landlord should now consider how long ago the crime occurred, the situation surrounding the arrest or conviction, whether the crime will in some way inhibit the person’s ability to be a good tenant and whether the person has received a form of treatment or some sort of rehabilitation. What you can ask for though, is evidence of treatment in the form of a certificate or history from a previous landlord or letters of support from friends or coworkers.