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  • Writer's pictureClementine Deck

Know Your Rights: Fair Housing & Criminal Records

At some point in our life, most of us have had our criminal backgrounds checked, but have you ever considered that a criminal background check could be discriminatory?

In recent years, criminal background checks have become a regular component of rental housing applications. For members of our community with criminal records, these screenings create regular barriers to finding and maintaining housing. These impacts extend beyond the person with a criminal record — their entire family is impacted by their contact with carceral system. Families are often forced to make tough choices between finding safe stable housing and living with or otherwise supporting a family member with a criminal record.

While criminal record status is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord cannot use their criminal record policy as an alternative to discriminate against members of a protected class (race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, familial status, or national origin). Housing providers are prohibited from using a criminal record policy that intentionally targets a protected class of people. Moreover, housing providers are also prohibited from using a policy which has a disparate impact on members of a protected class (including blanket bans on people with a criminal record).

These factsheets were developed by HOME in collaboration with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC). Our organizations are eager to engage with the community on these issues. If you'd like to learn more, schedule a training on these issues, or receive printed copies of the factsheet, please contact HOME's Director of Education, Rebecca Griffin, at or 513-977-2627.

Fair Housing and Criminal Records Factsheet Page 1
Fair Housing and Criminal Records Factsheet Page 2

Download the factsheet here!

CrimRec General Final (2-24)
Download PDF • 189KB

Disclaimer: HOME and OJPC present the information on this factsheet as a service to members of the general public. While the information on this page is

about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the particularized advice of an attorney. For answers to specific questions, it is best

to consult an attorney.

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