The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is an international, multi-chapter organization that aims to help property and asset managers advance in their careers and handle real estate management challenges by providing them with access to various resources. At Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed P.C., Attorneys at Law, we are beyond pleased that Derek Reed, one of our partners, will speak at the IREM 2022 Tri-State Conference & Expo.
This coming February, Attorney Derek Reed will be presenting on, “The Post-COVID Legal Landscape for Multi-Family Housing,” the effects of new federal, state, and local government legislation (created since the beginning of the pandemic) on multi-family properties’ operation. Reed’s presentation focuses on everything from the Fair Chance in Housing Act to the end of the eviction moratorium. Because of his work advocating for housing providers during the pandemic, Attorney Derek Reed is a great selection for speaker.
There is still time to register for the event. With 10 planned educational sessions and an expo to meet industry partners, this conference is sure to be beneficial for attendees.
What Is the Fair Chance in Housing Act?
The Fair Chance in Housing Act aims to do exactly what its name suggests—ensure New Jersey residents have a fair chance when they apply for housing if they have a criminal record. The Act will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
Once in effect, housing providers (landlords, owners, lessors, sublessors, assignees, or their agents) will be prohibited from asking about a potential tenant’s criminal history (on their application) before making a conditional offer. However, housing providers can ask about an applicant’s criminal record if they are a registered sex offender or have been convicted of meth production or manufacturing in federally assisted housing.
After making a conditional offer, housing providers can run a criminal background check. They can only consider criminal records that reflect:
- A first-degree offense within 6 years prior to the conditional offer
- A second- or third-degree offense within 4 years prior to the conditional offer
- A fourth-degree offense within 1 year prior to the conditional offer
- A conviction for murder, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, human trafficking, causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act, or lifetime registration in a state sex offender registry
At no time is a housing provider allowed to judge and evaluate an applicant based on:
- Charges that did not result in a conviction
- Expunged convictions
- Convictions that were pardoned
- Sealed records
If a housing provider does withdraw a conditional offer because of an applicant’s criminal record, the provider must give the applicant a written explanation outlining the reasons for their decision. Applicants can appeal the withdrawal if there are mitigating factors or inaccuracies in their criminal record. In the event of an appeal, housing providers and tenants should both reach out to an attorney.
Violating the Act
If an applicant believes they have experienced discrimination that violates this act, they can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. If the claim is substantiated, housing providers may be required to:
- Pay a monetary penalty
- Help the applicant find suitable housing
For help understanding this act or other housing laws, contact our attorneys. You can trust us to help you address your legal concerns and answer any questions. Reach out to us at (973) 828-0203 or via our contact page.