As if the process of renting an apartment wasn't complicated enough, and as if the requirements imposed by landlords weren't stringent enough, roughly 100 million Americans find it even harder to obtain access to adequate housing. We are speaking about the one-third of American adults who due to having some sort of criminal record, despite of having been rehabilitated, are denied from residency by most landlords.
Criminal records, financial problems and less-than-ideal rental histories, all records that have become easily accessible, are factors that most landlord tend to use in order to disqualify a potential tenant.
According to HUD, landlords can become entangled with the law themselves by violating the Federal Fair Housing Act if their residency-restricting rental policies affect individuals of a particular race, national origin or other protected classes, in a disproportionate manner.
In a joint effort between NeighborWorks America, which contributed a $75,000 grant towards a study on the issue, and nonprofit landlords Aeon, CommonBond Communities, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative and Project for Pride in Living the four are attempting to find ways to shrink this growing segment of so-called unrentables, including reevaluating their approval and denial criteria, such as determining more carefully which crimes are disqualifying factors, the length of time since the conviction and whether the applicant poses a threat to the safety of others.