How to Fulfill Your Duty to Prevent Race Discrimination (Article 2 of 6)

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Rule #2: Apply Uniform Qualification Standards, Regardless of Race


The FHA bars unequal treatment in the application process, for example, by using different rental procedures or screening criteria—such as income standards, application requirements, application fees, credit analysis, rental approval procedures, or other requirements—because of race or other protected characteristic, according to HUD regulations.

Whatever your policy on criminal background screening, for example, be sure that you apply it consistently—without regard to race and color, or other protected characteristics. Applying it only to applicants who are members of racial or ethnic minorities, but not to white applicants, could lead to fair housing trouble.

Example: In August 2019, the owners and managers of a Tennessee community agreed to pay $42,500 to resolve allegations of race discrimination by denying the application of an African-American applicant because of his criminal record, despite contemporaneously approving the rental applications of two white people with disqualifying felony convictions. The community denied the allegations but agreed to settle the case [U.S. v. Dyersburg Apartments, LTD., Tennessee, August 2019].

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