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Criminal Records and Tenant Screening Proposed Rule Published

Formal Comments Due in 60 Days

HUD has issued the much-anticipated proposed rule on the use of criminal records in tenant screenings and evictions, under the title, “Reducing Barriers to HUD-Assisted Housing.” Comments are due June 10. The proposed rule can be accessed here.

The Summary section of the notice states, “The proposed rule is intended to both clarify existing PHA and owner obligations and reduce the risk of violation of nondiscrimination laws.”

An email announcement from HUD’s office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing provides this description:

HUD’s rule proposes that people not be automatically or categorically denied access to or be terminated from HUD-assisted housing… simply for having a criminal record… HUD is proposing that public housing agencies (PHAs) and owners of HUD-assisted multifamily housing be required, when making an admissions decision, to use an individualized assessment that only considers criminal records that are relevant to endangering health and safety of staff and residents and also provide full consideration to mitigating factors and circumstances. The proposed rule would continue to afford discretion to PHAs and assisted housing owners, while providing direction on adopting and implementing fair, effective, and comprehensive admissions and termination policies. In so doing, the proposed rule would minimize unnecessary exclusions from HUD-assisted housing, while allowing providers to maintain the health, safety, and peaceful enjoyment of their residents, their staff, and their communities.

PHADA will conduct a detailed review and analysis of the proposed rule and its responsiveness to past PHADA and member comments and concerns, and plans member outreach to gather feedback and prepare formal comments.

Information and background on PHADA’s prior work on this issue can be found in the October 2022, Advocate article: “One Size Does Not Fit All: PHADA Advocates for Local Flexibility on Use of Criminal Records,” which includes a link to this September 2022 letter to HUD Secretary Fudge. In May 2023, PHADA also submitted formal comments in response to a Request for Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who regulate reporting on consumers such as credit reports and are seeking to add tenant screening reports to their reviews to ensure accuracy. Those comments can be found here.

As this is a proposed rule, HUD must collect and consider all comments received before issuing a final rule. Members with initial comments or questions can send them to: policy@phada.org, or contact Senior Policy Analyst David Weber at: dweber@phada.org.

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