Risk management, consider evaluating the criminal conviction after the other rental evaluation (e.g., finances, rental history). The potential tenant might be rejected on financial and rental history without the need to take on the potential fair housing risks that can arise from rejecting on felony conviction.

Video on this issue:

If asking a potential tenant about felony conviction, also have a uniform policy to ask and evaluate their history and mitigating factors for potential tenants who have a felony conviction.

This is a fair housing risk management issue.

Fair housing advocates and lawyers may argue that felons are not a fair housing protected class, but race and color and national origin are fair housing protected classes related to felony crimes by justice system/arrest/conviction/incarceration statistics arguably demonstrating disparate impact on African Americans and Latinos/Hispanics

Felony conviction mitigating factors that can be uniformly considered can include:
Time since conviction.
Type of conviction (e.g., violent acts, drug dealing).
Related to safety issues.
Rental History.
History since conviction.
Character references.
Other mitigating factors.

There is online and other evidence on recidivism of felons that can support risk management of safety issues. There are laws restricting tenants with convictions of certain sex crimes from living within certain distances of locations (e.g., schools).


Posted by: Byron King on 2/27/20 (This information is only accurate as of 2/27/20. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 2/27/20 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org)