June 2012 Coach's Quiz
We have offered six Dos and Don'ts for conducting criminal background checks in compliance with fair housing law. Now let’s look at how the rules might apply in the real world. Take the COACH’s Quiz to see what you have learned.
INSTRUCTIONS: On a separate piece of paper, write down the number of each question, followed by the answer you think is correct—for example, (1) b, (2) a, and so on. The correct answers follow the quiz. Good luck!
To send a message that your community has a zero-tolerance policy toward criminals, you currently conduct criminal background checks and reject applications if the applicant or adult members of their households have a criminal record. Since the FHA doesn’t protect criminal offenders, you don’t have to worry about a federal fair housing claim based on this policy. True or false?
It’s risky to reject applications based solely on arrest records without setting limits on the nature and severity of the charges and how long ago the arrest occurred. True or false?
You haven’t required criminal background checks in the past, but you’ve been hearing reports about gangs moving into your neighborhood. If it helps to keep gang activity out of your community, you could require criminal background checks on anyone who looks like a gang member without violating fair housing law. True or false?
COACH’S ANSWERS & EXPLANATIONS
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rules #1 & 2 apply here:
DO Review Your Policies on Criminal Background Checks
DON’T Apply Overly Broad Criminal Screening Standards
DO Adopt Reasonable Criminal Background Screening Standards
DON’T Exclude Everyone with a Criminal Record
Although the FHA doesn’t specifically prohibit a rental policy of denying housing to someone with a criminal record, there’s growing concern about the fairness of using criminal background checks to screen out applicants for rental housing. If HUD follows the EEOC’s lead to conclude that the practice has a disparate impact on African Americans and Hispanics, then an overly broad policy to exclude anyone with a criminal record could present fair housing problems.
Correct answer: a
Reason: Rule #3 applies here:
DO Consider Curbing Use of Arrest Records
DON’T Rely Solely on Arrest Records to Exclude Applicants
In contrast to criminal convictions, the fact of an arrest doesn’t establish that criminal conduct has occurred, so it’s risky to reject applications solely based on arrest records without considering the nature and severity of the conduct underlying the arrest and how long ago it occurred.
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #5 applies here:
DO Apply Criminal Background Screening Consistently
DON’T Ignore Requests to Consider Mitigating Circumstances
Whatever your policy on criminal background screenings, it’s essential to apply it consistently to all applicants and adult occupants. Subjecting only individuals whom you suspect to be gang members to criminal background checks could trigger a housing discrimination claim based on race or national origin.
See The Lesson For This Quiz
|The Dos & Don'ts of Conducting Criminal Background Checks|