Landlords are often faced with a number of challenges when it comes to finding good tenants. Having an effective application screening process can assist with screening out some people. However, it is important to follow the rules of the Fair Housing Act to ensure everyone is treated equally. Applicants that are part of the sex offender registry can make it difficult for landlords as some of those applicants have rebuilt their lives and have moved on from past mistakes. However, others can be placed in the home and causing risk to others in the area.
Rental applicants with sexual assaults are always the ones that cause the most difficulty for a landlord during the screening process. Some property owners will deny housing based on criminal history if it is found that the person can put others at-risk. However, all applicants need to be given the same treatment when going through the screening process. If a person is denied housing for sex offenders, it is vital to keep record of the criminal history report to ensure they met the Fair Housing requirements.
Landlords have had little guidance for years on state and local laws pertaining to sex offenders. Typically the laws restrict registered sex offenders on where they can live, typically keeping them at a distance away from schools, daycare centers, parks, and places where children are present. Finding a place to live can be difficult for registered sex offenders and all must go through a screening process that includes criminal and background checks. Fair Housing is designed to protect everyone from discrimination in a number of areas including:
Sex offenders are not protected under fair housing laws, so it is up to the discretion of the landlords to determine if the person is eligible to rent the property. Depending upon the severity of the crime, many property managers tend to err on the side of caution. Since the laws can be difficult to understand, it pays to hire a professional property management company like Keyrenter Property Management in Ft, Lauderdale, FL.
In 2016, new regulations were updated to provide information on how sex offender databases can be used in tenant screening. The database can be inconsistent in some situations when it is not updated, and a person is provided housing, only to commit a crime on that property, now the landlord is liable for lawsuits and other serious consequences. Failing to exercise due care in tenant screening does open up landlords to other problems. Hiring a property management company is the best way to ensure all regulations are met, and tenant screening is handled appropriately.