New Proposed Rule on Criminal Screening in HUD-Assisted Properties

Initial takeaways for the rental housing industry from HUD’s proposed rule.

By Joe Riter |

2 minute read

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released its notice of proposed rulemaking, Reducing Barriers to HUD-Assisted Housing, in the Federal Register. The proposed rule is intended to put clearer guardrails around housing providers’ criminal record screening policies and practices in certain Public Housing and HUD-funded housing, such as Section 8 assisted housing programs, Section 221(d)(3) below market interest rate (BMIR) program, Section 202 program for the elderly, Section 811 program for persons with disabilities and the Section 236 interest reduction payment program.

While the proposed rule notes that “[m]ost of the changes in the proposed rule would not apply to owners who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program or Project Based Voucher (PBV) program…in order to avoid discouraging owner participation,” the National Apartment Association (NAA) is continuing to digest the 146-page rule and analyze industry impacts.

Initial takeaways include that the proposed rule:

  • Establishes a 3-year lookback period for any particular criminal activity for both mandatory and discretionary denials of applications.
  • On mandatory denials, limits to 12-months “lookback period” the definition of “currently engaged in [criminal activities]” for purposes of evaluating mandatory denials under federal law.
  • Requires housing providers to update and make tenant selection plans within six months and make them as well as PHA administrative plans more widely available. 
  • Requires housing providers to give at least 15 days to prospective residents to challenge the accuracy and relevance of the information and to provide any relevant mitigating information prior to an admissions decision.

Previously announced in April 2023, HUD’s rulemaking will allow public comment for 60 days following its posting in the Federal Register. On top of its ongoing advocacy with HUD and the Biden Administration, you can count on NAA to provide industry comments and to facilitate member and NAA affiliate partner participation in this crucial rulemaking action before the June 10 deadline.

NAA continues our federal regulatory advocacy efforts to ensure that agencies throughout the federal government, as well as Congress and the White House, understand our industry’s unique operational realities.

To learn more, please contact Joe Riter, NAA’s Senior Manager, Public Policy.