There are a large number of lawsuits being filed regarding policies against renting to tenants with criminal convictions. Florida Realtors® wants you to know the law and what to consider when developing your in-house rental policy. A single law firm in Orlando has filed 48 lawsuits this year alone against Florida property managers who allegedly refused to rent to applicants base on previous criminal convictions.

Private law firms essentially test whether a property management company adheres to a memo issued by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development), and if in their opinion it does not, they file a lawsuit,
— Juana Watkins, Florida Realtors® VP of Law and Policy

The Fair Housing Act does not specifically deny a landlord the right to reject an applicant based on a prior conviction. However, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a statement saying a blanket policy to deny felons can have an impact on minority populations under disparate impact.

Related Links: HUD Guidance on Use of Criminal Records

Questions, please contact the Florida Realtors® Free Legal Hotline at 407.438.1409. The Legal Hotline is a service included in your membership with Florida Realtors®.

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