Owning rental property is one way to plan for your retirement. If you are handy and live close to the property, it can be a very profitable investment. If you don’t live nearby, a good rental agency can handle the details for you.
Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted a story about a new federal regulation that is going to make being a successful landlord more difficult.
The article reports:
The Obama administration has just made it easier for felons to move in next door. Landlords who don’t want tenants who are going to mug their neighbors or deal drugs will now be treated as racists and potentially sued.
Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued new guidelines to landlords, warning that bans against renters with criminal convictions violate the Fair Housing Act because they disproportionately affect minorities.
In effect, the Obama regime is now outlawing criminal background checks for apartment rentals, even though such screening is critical for the protection and security of tenants and property, and serves a legitimate business need.
In a newly released 10-page missive, HUD warns landlords they can be held liable for discrimination if they deny housing over criminal records.
It gets really interesting when you consider the other side of the coin:
So now landlords, real estate agents and property managers will think twice before turning away drug dealers and thieves, even rapists, who are members of this “protected class” — even though barring high-risk tenants serves a legitimate, nondiscriminatory purpose.
This puts landlords in a terrible legal bind.
To protect themselves from federal action, they would be wise to avoid even inquiring about the criminal records of prospective tenants. But if they fail to adequately screen them and rent to one who robs or hurts a neighbor, they could be sued by the victim for negligence.
No doubt many will see no option but to raise rents to indirectly exclude criminals from their rentals, which will just end up hurting everybody who rents housing — including innocent, law-abiding tenants.
In a move to protect the rights of convicted felons, the federal government has just created problems for the average American. I believe people who are renting property have the right to know the background of their renters. If a landlord feels that a former criminal has changed his ways, he should be free to rent to him. However, if there is no indication that a former criminal has changed his ways, the landlord should have the right to determine whether or not he wants to rent his property to that person.