Reliable Background Screening is here to protect you, your employees, your business, your brand, and your assets – and we do it in several ways.
Yes, we conduct background checks for you when you hire employees, extend credit, or consider partners for business deals. Also, we actively and purposefully stay informed of changes in laws and regulations to protect you even more.
On occasion, the different branches of government make decisions and issue guidance with far-reaching implications on background screening. Even if you think you are doing all the right things, you might actually be breaking the law!
For example, last month HUD’s (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Office of General Counsel issued guidance that will have far-reaching impact on landlords and the multi-housing and property management industries. This is a direct outcome of a Supreme Court Ruling from last year. Knowing and understanding these new guidelines will help protect you for committing unintentional discrimination (Disparate Impact) and its potential disastrous consequences for your business and reputation. You can read about this particular HUD guidance in a separate article below.
For over a quarter of a century, Reliable Background Screening has provided thousands of clients with expert advice and unparalleled quality services. It is our foremost goal to protect you, your employees, your business, your brand, and your assets and we will continue to do so in every way we can.
We always work to protect our clients by alerting them to potential problems with their background screening policies and procedures, and we show them how to do it right.
Rudy Troisi, President Reliable Background Screening
HUD Guidance Limits Use of Criminal Records for Landlords
On April 4, 2016, HUD’s (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Office of General Counsel issued guidance that will have far-reaching impact on landlords and the multi-housing and property management industries. This is a direct outcome of the Supreme Court Ruling that we wrote about in June of 2015, where the Supreme Court ruled that Disparate Impact applies to the Fair Housing Act.
Disparate Impact means a company can be held liable even if there is no intent to discriminate. Business practices that have a disproportionate effect on certain protected classes can result in disparate impact liability. This HUD Guidance cites national statistics that shows African Americans and Hispanics comprise a higher percentage of individuals with criminal records, relative to their share of the general population. Therefore, HUD has made it very clear that having a blanket policy that denies rental housing for criminal convictions will be violating the Fair Housing Act.
HUD specifically listed a three step process for determining unintentional discrimination, i.e., Disparate Impact, in the use of criminal records to make rental housing decisions. In the first step, a plaintiff must prove that the criminal history rental criteria have a disparate impact on a group based upon their race or national origin. If a blanket policy is used without regard to the severity of the crime, the length of time that has passed since the crime occurred, and the individual’s conduct since the conviction, the landlord will likely face an uphill battle defending against discrimination liability.
Disparate Impact has been used in the past in the employment arena, primarily by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), but now HUD has placed this issue in the housing industry as well. It would be prudent for companies and organizations in the housing industry to immediately review their policies and procedures, especially with regard to the use of criminal records for denying rental housing.
They SHOULD Have Known!
Here are a few news items about apartment complexes from recent months:
In Little Rock, Arkansas, a bullet was blasted from a neighbor’s shotgun
In Denver, Colorado, neighbors were caught stealing mail from other resident’s mailboxes
In Edmonton, Canada, residents in over 75 units are evicted due to suspected drug activity
Those less-than-ideal residents are out there and looking for a place to live. Taking in tenants and residents without properly vetting them could lead to serious problems including, costly legal problems, loss of reputation, or worse.
Reliable Background Screening has helped prevent these types of residents from ending up in communities where they are not welcome for over 25 years. Don’t let them end up in your community.
They SHOULD Have Known! Is a monthly column written by Brett Troisi, Vice President, of Reliable Background Screening. Like everyone else at Reliable, Brett’s mission is to inform and educate the public of the importance of thorough background screening as a means for public safety.
To request information or to ask questions regarding background screening call (833) 946-1989 or click above.
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