Sunday, March 26, 2006

Can you reject tenant applicants with a criminal record?

The Fair Housing Act section 3604(f)(9) says: "Nothing in this subsection requires that a dwelling be made available to an individual whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals, or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage or property to others."
 
Obviously opened to some interpretation, but definitely strong enough language to allow a landlord to turn down many felons. It is doubtful that this would apply to misdemeanors. The key phrase is that there must be a current threat to others. I have read that crimes such as fraud, DWI, and vehicular homicide may not apply. Obvious crimes that DO apply include: murder, assualt, rape, arson, child abuse/molestation, and selling drugs (but not drug posession arrests).
 
Always run a criminal background check on propsective tenants!!
Also, I always to a Megan's Law check. In NJ this info is free at the State Police Megan's Law Registry Website.
 
 
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