HUD: Not Renting to Convicted Felons is Racist Act of Discrimination

Chris Menahan
Apr. 11, 2016

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's new guidelines under Obama, not renting to convicted felons is a racist act of discrimination.

From The Boston Globe:
You’re a private landlord, renting apartments in a building you bought with your savings from years of hard work and modest living. You take pride in maintaining your property, keeping it clean, comfortable, and attractive. You charge a fair rent and treat your tenants with courtesy and respect. Your tenants, in turn, appreciate the care you put into the building. And they trust you to screen prospective tenants wisely, accepting only residents who won’t jeopardize the building’s safe and neighborly character. That’s why you only consider applications from individuals who are employed or in school, whose credit scores are strong, and who have no criminal record.

Most Americans would look at you and likely see a prudent, levelheaded property owner. Not the Obama administration. The Department of Housing and Urban Development warned last week that landlords who refuse to rent to anyone with a criminal record are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and can be prosecuted and fined for racial discrimination.

In a 10-page “guidance” issued on April 4, the federal agency announced that any landlord with a blanket policy of not renting to people with a criminal conviction is effectively discriminating on the basis of race or national origin. “Because of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the US criminal justice system,” HUD’s new guidelines read, “criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African-Americans and Hispanics. . . . [T]herefore such a practice would violate the Fair Housing Act.”

The administration’s argument is twofold. First, because blacks and Hispanics commit crimes and go to prison at much higher rates than whites, a policy of automatically rejecting applicants with a criminal past will have a “disparate impact” on different racial groups. And second, not all convictions are alike, and not everyone with a prior criminal record would be a risky tenant.
If you don't want to rent your hard earned property out to convicted felons, you're a racist and a criminal.

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