COACH's Pop Quiz!

Q: Our community has conducted criminal background checks for years, but we’ve been hearing about new HUD rules restricting our ability to screen residents based on their criminal history. What do the rules say—and how quickly should we act to avoid fair housing trouble based on our criminal screening policy?

A: Time is of the essence, according to our fair housing experts, who say that anyone with a broad, generalized criminal screening policy is at high risk for a fair housing challenge. The larger your company, the greater the chance you could be challenged, so it’s a very smart practice for everyone—all companies—to take another look at their criminal screening policy to determine if it needs to be revised, and if so, to immediately go about taking the steps to do so. As one of our experts put it, “There are fair housing advocacy agencies that are actively searching for companies with simplistic and generalized criminal history policies to challenge. We don’t want your companies to be those test cases.”

For a detailed discussion of the new rules, subscribers can download the Coach’s June lesson, “Q&A on HUD's New Guidance on Criminal Background Checks,” and our new Special Issue, “Conducting Criminal Background Checks: Further FAQs & Follow-up,” as well as get information about our recent webinar, “Applicant Screening and Criminal Histories: Addressing Disparate Impact Liability under the Fair Housing Act.”