The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed the Housing Justice Act (effective date TBD), a bill that prevents landlords from denying potential tenants housing based on certain crimes, such as marijuana possession.

The new law prohibits a landlord from:

  • raising a stated rent in certain circumstances;
  • requiring a rental application to contain certain information about record checks conducted by a housing provider;
  • making certain inquiries regarding criminal histories in rental housing applications; and
  • considering certain arrests and convictions in rental housing decisions.

Specifically with regard to prohibiting inquiries into criminal histories, landlords are prohibited from conducting a criminal record check of a prospective tenant until after a conditional offer of housing has been made. Landlords also are prohibited from inquiring into, or making housing decisions based upon, certain arrests or misdemeanors. However, a landlord may inquire into and consider a prospective tenant’s sex offender registry status, as well as any sex offense arrests or convictions.

Any landlord who denies housing based upon an applicant’s criminal background must inform the applicant in writing and give him or her 7 days in which to provide additional information.

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At Hire Image, we understand ongoing compliance in the face of constantly shifting laws and regulations. Please contact us if you need any assistance in reviewing your policies and procedures. For more information about Ban the Box and other laws that may affect you in your state, please visit our Resource Library.

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