HB 5713

Version: File+No.+176
Author: Housing Committee

Created by BCL easyConverter SDK 5 (HTML Version)

House of Representatives

January Session, 2019

Substitute House Bill No. 5713

House of Representatives, March 28, 2019

The Committee on Housing reported through REP. MCGEE of the 5th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING CONSIDERATION OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS OF A PROSPECTIVE TENANT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

1Section 1. Section 46a-64b of the general statutes is repealed and the

2following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2019):

3As used in sections 46a-51 to 46a-99, inclusive, and section 2 of this

4act:

5(1) "Conviction" means a judgment entered by a court upon a plea of

6guilty, a plea of nolo contendere or a finding of guilty by a jury or the

7 court notwithstanding any pending appeal or habeas corpus

8proceeding arising from such judgment.

9[(1)] (2) "Discriminatory housing practice" means any discriminatory

10practice specified in section 46a-64c, [or] section 46a-81e or section 2 of

11this act.

12[(2)] (3) "Dwelling" means any building, structure, mobile

13manufactured home park or portion thereof which is occupied as, or

14designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more

15families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the

16construction or location thereon of any such building, structure,

17mobile manufactured home park or portion thereof.

18[(3)] (4) "Fair Housing Act" means Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act

19of 1968, as amended, and known as the federal Fair Housing Act (42

20USC 3600-3620).

21[(4)] (5) "Family" includes a single individual.

22[(5)] (6) "Familial status" means one or more individuals who have

23not attained the age of eighteen years being domiciled with a parent or

24another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals;

25or the designee of such parent or other person having such custody

26with the written permission of such parent or other person; or any

27person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of

28any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years.

29[(6)] (7) "Housing for older persons" means housing: (A) Provided

30under any state or federal program that the Secretary of the United

31States Department of Housing and Urban Development determines is

32specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons as defined

33in the state or federal program; or (B) intended for, and solely occupied

34by, persons sixty-two years of age or older; or (C) intended and

35operated for occupancy by at least one person fifty-five years of age or

36older per unit in accordance with the standards set forth in the Fair

37Housing Act and regulations developed pursuant thereto by the

38Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban

39Development.

40(8) "Housing provider" means a landlord or owner, an agent of such

41landlord or owner, a realtor, property manager, housing authority, as

42created in section 8-40, public housing agency or other entity that

43provides housing opportunities to potential tenants.

44(9) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor or sublessor of the dwelling

45unit, the building of which it is a part or the premises.

46[(7)] (10) "Mobile manufactured home park" means a plot of land

47upon which two or more mobile manufactured homes occupied for

48residential purposes are located.

49(11) "Owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in

50whom is vested (A) all or part of the legal title to property, or (B) all or

51part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and

52enjoyment of the premises and includes a mortgagee in possession.

53[(8)] (12) "Physical or mental disability" includes, but is not limited

54to, intellectual disability, as defined in section 1-1g, and physical

55disability, as defined in subdivision (15) of section 46a-51, and also

56includes, but is not limited to, persons who have a handicap as that

57term is defined in the Fair Housing Act.

58[(9)] (13) "Residential-real-estate-related transaction" means (A) the

59making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance

60for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a

61dwelling, or secured by residential real estate; or (B) the selling,

62brokering or appraising of residential real property.

63[(10)] (14) "To rent" includes to lease, to sublease, to let and to

64otherwise grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not

65owned by the occupant.

66Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2019) (a) Except as provided in

67subsections (b) and (c) of this section, it shall be a discriminatory

68practice in violation of this section:

69(1) (A) To refuse to rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to

70refuse to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or

71deny a rental unit or deny occupancy in a rental unit to any person

72based on the applicant's criminal record, except for (i) conviction or

73release from confinement for the commission of a misdemeanor

74described in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision during the three

75years immediately preceding the rental application, or (ii) conviction

76or release from confinement for the commission of a felony described

77 in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision during the ten years

78immediately preceding the rental application.

79(B) Within the three and ten-year periods specified in subparagraph

80(A) of this subdivision, housing providers may only consider criminal

81convictions that, if repeated, would adversely affect the health, safety

82or welfare of other tenants, including, but not limited to, (i) crimes of

83physical violence to persons or property; (ii) crimes involving the

84illegal manufacture, sale or distribution of a controlled substance, as

85defined in section 21a-240 of the general statutes; (iii) violations of

86subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 53-21 of the general statutes;

87and (iv) sexual offenses under sections 53a-65 to 53a-90b, inclusive, of

88the general statutes.

89(C) In no case may records of arrest or a charge not followed by a

90conviction, or records of convictions that have been erased, be used as

91a basis to reject an applicant for housing.

92(D) Prior to denying a rental application pursuant to this subsection,

93a housing provider shall provide written notice to the applicant that

94the application requires further review due to the applicant's criminal

95conviction. The housing provider shall provide the applicant an

96opportunity to present relevant mitigating information regarding the

97conviction and evidence that the applicant would be a good tenant.

98Such evidence may include the following factors:

99(i) The nature and severity of the criminal offense;

100(ii) The facts or circumstances surrounding the criminal conduct;

101(iii) The age of the applicant at the time of the offense;

102(iv) The length of time elapsed since the offense;

103(v) Evidence the applicant has maintained a good tenant history

104before or after the offense;

105(vi) Any information produced by the applicant, or produced on the

106applicant's behalf, in regard to the applicant's rehabilitation or good

107conduct since the offense; and

108(vii) Any other evidence that the offense is unlikely to reoccur.

109(E) If, after consideration of evidence relevant to the factors set forth

110in subparagraph (D) of this subdivision, the housing provider rejects

111an applicant for housing based on conviction of a crime, such rejection

112shall be in writing and specifically state the evidence presented and

113reasons for rejection. A copy of such rejection shall be sent by

114registered mail to the applicant at the address provided in the

115application for housing.

116(F) No housing provider may request any consumer reporting

117agency to provide any criminal conviction information except as

118permitted by this section.

119(2) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or

120privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or

121facilities in connection therewith, because of such person's criminal

122conviction status.

123(3) To make, print or publish, or cause to be made, printed or

124published any notice, statement or advertisement, with respect to the

125rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or

126discrimination based on criminal conviction status, or an intention to

127make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.

128(4) To represent to any person because of criminal conviction status

129that any dwelling is not available for inspection or rental when such

130dwelling is in fact so available.

131(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person who

132applies for public housing who has a conviction for manufacture or

133production of methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted

134housing, or to a person subject to a lifetime registration requirement

135under a state sexual offender registration program pursuant to 24 CFR

136960.204 and 24 CFR 982.553. Nothing in this section shall be construed

137to limit the applicability of 24 CFR 960.204 or 24 CFR 982.553 with

138regard to a public housing authority.

139(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to (1) the rental of a

140room or rooms in a single-family dwelling unit if the owner actually

141maintains and occupies part of such unit as his or her residence, or (2)

142a unit in a dwelling containing not more than four units if the owner

143actually maintains and occupies one of such other units as his or her

144residence.

145(d) Nothing in this section limits the applicability of any reasonable

146state statute or municipal ordinance restricting the maximum number

147of persons permitted to occupy a dwelling.

148(e) Any person aggrieved by a violation of this section may file a

149complaint not later than one hundred eighty days after the alleged act

150of discrimination, pursuant to section 46a-82 of the general statutes.

151(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of chapter 814c of the

152general statutes, complaints alleging a violation of this section shall be

153investigated not later than one hundred days after filing and a final

154administrative disposition shall be made not later than one year after

155filing unless it is impracticable to do so. If the Commission on Human

156Rights and Opportunities is unable to complete its investigation or

157make a final administrative determination within such time frames, it

158shall notify the complainant and the respondent in writing of the

159reasons for not doing so.

160Sec. 3. Subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 47a-23c of the

161general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu

162thereof (Effective October 1, 2019):

163(a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, this

164section applies to any tenant who resides in a building or complex

165consisting of five or more separate dwelling units or who resides in a

166mobile manufactured home park and who is either: (A) Sixty-two

167years of age or older, or whose spouse, sibling, parent or grandparent

168is sixty-two years of age or older and permanently resides with that

169tenant, or (B) a person with a physical or mental disability, as defined

170in subdivision [(8)] (12) of section 46a-64b, as amended by this act, or

171whose spouse, sibling, child, parent or grandparent is a person with a

172physical or mental disability who permanently resides with that

173tenant, but only if such disability can be expected to result in death or

174to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months.

175Sec. 4. Section 8-45a of the general statutes is repealed and the

176following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2019):

177A housing authority, as defined in subsection (b) of section 8-39, in

178determining eligibility for the rental of public housing units may

179establish criteria and consider relevant information concerning (1) an

180applicant's or any proposed occupant's history of criminal activity,

181during the time periods established under subsection (a) of section 2 of

182this act, involving: (A) Crimes of physical violence to persons or

183 property, (B) crimes involving the illegal manufacture, sale,

184distribution or use of, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell,

185use or distribute, a controlled substance, as defined in section 21a-240,

186or (C) other criminal acts which would adversely affect the health,

187safety or welfare of other tenants, (2) an applicant's or any proposed

188occupant's abuse, or pattern of abuse, of alcohol when the housing

189authority has reasonable cause to believe that such applicant's or

190proposed occupant's abuse, or pattern of abuse, of alcohol may

191interfere with the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the

192premises by other residents, and (3) an applicant or any proposed

193occupant who is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under

194section 54-252 on account of being convicted or found not guilty by

195reason of mental disease or defect of a sexually violent offense. In

196evaluating any such information, the housing authority shall give

197consideration to the time, nature and extent of the applicant's or

198proposed occupant's conduct and to factors which might indicate a

199reasonable probability of favorable future conduct such as evidence of

200rehabilitation and evidence of the willingness of the applicant, the

201applicant's family or the proposed occupant to participate in social

202service or other appropriate counseling programs and the availability

203of such programs.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(8), a reference to section 47a-1 was deleted for accuracy and in Section 2(a), a reference to Subsec. (c) was added for accuracy.

HSG Joint Favorable Subst.

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

The bill prohibits discrimination in rental housing on the basis of an individual's criminal record, and authorizes aggrieved individuals to file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

It is anticipated that the provisions of the bill will increase complaints filed with CHRO, requiring the addition of one Staff Attorney 1 at a cost of $48,503 in FY 20 (partial year) and $70,060 in FY 21 (full year), and associated fringe benefits of $19,978 and $28,858, respectively.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

1The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 41.19% of payroll in FY 20 and FY 21.

OLR Bill Analysis sHB 5713

AN ACT CONCERNING CONSIDERATION OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS OF A PROSPECTIVE TENANT.

This bill generally prohibits discrimination in rental housing on the basis of an individual's criminal record. It does so by prohibiting housing providers (e.g., landlords, property owners, and housing authorities) from:

1.refusing to rent to a prospective tenant because of his or her criminal history, except for those convicted of certain crimes as described below;

2.discriminating in the terms, conditions, or services of a rental because of a tenant's criminal history;

3.making, printing, or publishing, or causing this to be done, a notice, statement, or advertisement concerning a rental that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on criminal history or an intention to make such a preference, limitation, or discrimination on that basis; or

4.falsely representing a unit as unavailable for inspection or rental to a prospective tenant because of his or her criminal history.

The bill authorizes aggrieved individuals to report alleged violations to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

Under the bill, the prohibition against refusing to rent to a prospective tenant on the basis of criminal history does not extend to those convicted of, or released from confinement for, committing certain misdemeanors or felonies in the preceding three and 10 years,

respectively. Specifically, housing providers may, during the three or 10-year look-back periods, consider criminal convictions that would adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants if the applicant were to commit them again. The bill specifies the procedure housing providers must follow in denying an applicant on this basis. It creates an exception for public housing authorities (PHAs) that must, under federal law, reject applicants with certain criminal histories from public housing.

Under current law, PHAs may deny admission to individuals with specific types of criminal records (although they must consider certain mitigating factors). The bill limits their ability to do so to the three and 10-year look-back periods described above.

Lastly, the bill makes a technical change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2019

HOUSING PROVIDERS

The bill's prohibitions on rental housing discrimination apply to landlords and rental property owners or their agents, realtors, and property managers, PHAs, and other entities that provide housing opportunities to potential tenants (i.e., housing providers). But they do not apply to rentals of (1) rooms in single-family, owner-occupied dwellings or (2) units in multi-family dwellings that contain up to four units if one unit is owner-occupied.

REFUSING TO RENT BASED ON CRIMINAL HISTORY

Discriminatory Practice

Under the bill, housing providers may not, on the basis of an applicant's criminal record, (1) refuse to rent a unit after a person makes a bona fide offer, (2) refuse to negotiate for the rental, or (3) otherwise make unavailable or deny a rental unit or deny occupancy in the unit, except as described below.

Exception for Specified Criminal Convictions

The exception is for applicants who were convicted of, or released

from confinement for, committing certain (1) misdemeanors during the three years immediately preceding the rental application or (2) felonies during the preceding 10 years. Housing providers may only consider convictions for crimes that would adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants if the prospective tenant were to commit them again. These include crimes involving physical violence to persons or property; illegal manufacture, sale, or distribution of drugs; injury or risk of injury to, or impairing the morals of, children; and sexual offenses.

Under the bill, a "conviction" is a judgment a court enters upon a guilty or nolo contendere plea or a finding of guilt by a jury regardless of any pending appeal or habeas corpus proceeding arising from such judgment.

Excluded Arrest or Conviction Records

The bill prohibits housing providers from basing an applicant's rejection on expunged convictions or records of arrest or charges that did not result in a conviction. It also bars housing providers from asking consumer reporting agencies to provide criminal records other than those the bill permits them to consider.

Procedure for Denying a Rental Application on the Basis of Applicant's Criminal Record

Under the bill, before denying a rental application based on the applicant's criminal record, the housing provider must (1) notify the applicant in writing that his or her application warrants additional review because of his or her criminal history and (2) allow the applicant an opportunity to provide related mitigating information about the conviction and evidence that he or she would be a good tenant.

The evidence may include the following factors:

1.nature and severity of the crime,

2.facts and circumstances surrounding the crime,

3.length of time since the offense,

4.applicant's good tenant history before or after the offense,

5.applicant's rehabilitation or good conduct since the offense, and

6.anything showing the applicant is unlikely to commit the crime again.

If, after considering the evidence related to these factors, the housing provider rejects an applicant on the basis of his or her criminal record, the provider must provide the rejection in writing. The rejection must specifically state the evidence presented and the reasons for rejection and be sent to the applicant by registered mail, to the address provided in the rental application.

CHRO COMPLAINTS

The bill authorizes anyone aggrieved by a violation of the bill's prohibition on housing discrimination to, within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act, file a complaint with CHRO pursuant to the existing statutory procedure for doing so (see BACKGROUND).

CHRO must investigate complaint allegations within 100 days of receipt and, unless it is impractical to do so, issue a final disposition within one year. If CHRO cannot complete either within the time limits, it must provide written notification to the complainant and respondent and explain why.

The bill does not, however, make conforming changes to the statutes to allow CHRO to grant relief.

PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES

Consideration of Applicant Criminal Records in State-Assisted Public Housing

Under current law, PHAs may reject a prospective tenant for state- funded public housing if he or she has a criminal record involving (1) physical violence to people or property; (2) the sale, distribution, use, or possession of illegal drugs; or (3) acts that would adversely affect

the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants. Under the bill, PHAs may still reject a prospective tenant because of the aforementioned crimes, but only if they occurred during the specified three and 10-year look-back periods.

The bill's look-back limitations do not restrict a PHAs consideration of other factors. Unchanged by the bill, state-subsidized PHAs may also reject a prospective tenant because he or she (1) abuses alcohol in a manner that gives it reasonable cause to believe the behavior may threaten other tenants' health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of their premises; or (2) is subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender due to a sexually violent offense.

By law, PHAs must also consider the time, nature, and extent of the conduct and any factors indicating future improvement, such as evidence of rehabilitation or willingness to attend counseling.

Discrimination Protections not Applicable for Those Convicted of Certain Crimes Cited in Federal Law

The bill's discrimination protections do not apply to individuals applying for public housing who have been convicted of (1) manufacturing methamphetamine on federally assisted housing premises or (2) a crime that subjects them to lifetime registration on a state sex offender registry. The bill further specifies that these provisions do not limit the application of the federal laws prohibiting such individuals from public housing. It is unclear whether these provisions apply to applicants for state- or federally assisted public housing.

STATE AND LOCAL RESTRICTIONS ON MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY

The bill provides that its provisions do not limit the applicability of any reasonable state statute or municipal ordinance restricting the maximum number of persons allowed to occupy a dwelling.

BACKGROUND

Discriminatory Housing Practices

Existing law prohibits discrimination in housing because of race,

religion, sex, national origin, disability, familial or marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, lawful source of income or veteran status. It extends to discrimination in the rental and sale of public and private housing, in housing related terms, conditions, services, loans, mortgages, and in verbal or written statements or advertisements. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with CHRO within 180 days of the alleged incident.

Related Bill

SB 54, reported favorably by the Housing Committee, requires the Department of Housing to establish a limited period pertaining to landlords' review of prospective tenants' criminal records.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Housing Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea 11 Nay 3 (03/07/2019)

HB 5713

Version: File+No.+176
Author: Housing Committee

Created by BCL easyConverter SDK 5 (HTML Version)

House of Representatives

January Session, 2019

Substitute House Bill No. 5713

House of Representatives, March 28, 2019

The Committee on Housing reported through REP. MCGEE of the 5th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING CONSIDERATION OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS OF A PROSPECTIVE TENANT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

1Section 1. Section 46a-64b of the general statutes is repealed and the

2following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2019):

3As used in sections 46a-51 to 46a-99, inclusive, and section 2 of this

4act:

5(1) "Conviction" means a judgment entered by a court upon a plea of

6guilty, a plea of nolo contendere or a finding of guilty by a jury or the

7 court notwithstanding any pending appeal or habeas corpus

8proceeding arising from such judgment.

9[(1)] (2) "Discriminatory housing practice" means any discriminatory

10practice specified in section 46a-64c, [or] section 46a-81e or section 2 of

11this act.

12[(2)] (3) "Dwelling" means any building, structure, mobile

13manufactured home park or portion thereof which is occupied as, or

14designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more

15families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the

16construction or location thereon of any such building, structure,

17mobile manufactured home park or portion thereof.

18[(3)] (4) "Fair Housing Act" means Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act

19of 1968, as amended, and known as the federal Fair Housing Act (42

20USC 3600-3620).

21[(4)] (5) "Family" includes a single individual.

22[(5)] (6) "Familial status" means one or more individuals who have

23not attained the age of eighteen years being domiciled with a parent or

24another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals;

25or the designee of such parent or other person having such custody

26with the written permission of such parent or other person; or any

27person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of

28any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years.

29[(6)] (7) "Housing for older persons" means housing: (A) Provided

30under any state or federal program that the Secretary of the United

31States Department of Housing and Urban Development determines is

32specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons as defined

33in the state or federal program; or (B) intended for, and solely occupied

34by, persons sixty-two years of age or older; or (C) intended and

35operated for occupancy by at least one person fifty-five years of age or

36older per unit in accordance with the standards set forth in the Fair

37Housing Act and regulations developed pursuant thereto by the

38Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban

39Development.

40(8) "Housing provider" means a landlord or owner, an agent of such

41landlord or owner, a realtor, property manager, housing authority, as

42created in section 8-40, public housing agency or other entity that

43provides housing opportunities to potential tenants.

44(9) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor or sublessor of the dwelling

45unit, the building of which it is a part or the premises.

46[(7)] (10) "Mobile manufactured home park" means a plot of land

47upon which two or more mobile manufactured homes occupied for

48residential purposes are located.

49(11) "Owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in

50whom is vested (A) all or part of the legal title to property, or (B) all or

51part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and

52enjoyment of the premises and includes a mortgagee in possession.

53[(8)] (12) "Physical or mental disability" includes, but is not limited

54to, intellectual disability, as defined in section 1-1g, and physical

55disability, as defined in subdivision (15) of section 46a-51, and also

56includes, but is not limited to, persons who have a handicap as that

57term is defined in the Fair Housing Act.

58[(9)] (13) "Residential-real-estate-related transaction" means (A) the

59making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance

60for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a

61dwelling, or secured by residential real estate; or (B) the selling,

62brokering or appraising of residential real property.

63[(10)] (14) "To rent" includes to lease, to sublease, to let and to

64otherwise grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not

65owned by the occupant.

66Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2019) (a) Except as provided in

67subsections (b) and (c) of this section, it shall be a discriminatory

68practice in violation of this section:

69(1) (A) To refuse to rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to

70refuse to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or

71deny a rental unit or deny occupancy in a rental unit to any person

72based on the applicant's criminal record, except for (i) conviction or

73release from confinement for the commission of a misdemeanor

74described in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision during the three

75years immediately preceding the rental application, or (ii) conviction

76or release from confinement for the commission of a felony described

77 in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision during the ten years

78immediately preceding the rental application.

79(B) Within the three and ten-year periods specified in subparagraph

80(A) of this subdivision, housing providers may only consider criminal

81convictions that, if repeated, would adversely affect the health, safety

82or welfare of other tenants, including, but not limited to, (i) crimes of

83physical violence to persons or property; (ii) crimes involving the

84illegal manufacture, sale or distribution of a controlled substance, as

85defined in section 21a-240 of the general statutes; (iii) violations of

86subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 53-21 of the general statutes;

87and (iv) sexual offenses under sections 53a-65 to 53a-90b, inclusive, of

88the general statutes.

89(C) In no case may records of arrest or a charge not followed by a

90conviction, or records of convictions that have been erased, be used as

91a basis to reject an applicant for housing.

92(D) Prior to denying a rental application pursuant to this subsection,

93a housing provider shall provide written notice to the applicant that

94the application requires further review due to the applicant's criminal

95conviction. The housing provider shall provide the applicant an

96opportunity to present relevant mitigating information regarding the

97conviction and evidence that the applicant would be a good tenant.

98Such evidence may include the following factors:

99(i) The nature and severity of the criminal offense;

100(ii) The facts or circumstances surrounding the criminal conduct;

101(iii) The age of the applicant at the time of the offense;

102(iv) The length of time elapsed since the offense;

103(v) Evidence the applicant has maintained a good tenant history

104before or after the offense;

105(vi) Any information produced by the applicant, or produced on the

106applicant's behalf, in regard to the applicant's rehabilitation or good

107conduct since the offense; and

108(vii) Any other evidence that the offense is unlikely to reoccur.

109(E) If, after consideration of evidence relevant to the factors set forth

110in subparagraph (D) of this subdivision, the housing provider rejects

111an applicant for housing based on conviction of a crime, such rejection

112shall be in writing and specifically state the evidence presented and

113reasons for rejection. A copy of such rejection shall be sent by

114registered mail to the applicant at the address provided in the

115application for housing.

116(F) No housing provider may request any consumer reporting

117agency to provide any criminal conviction information except as

118permitted by this section.

119(2) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or

120privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or

121facilities in connection therewith, because of such person's criminal

122conviction status.

123(3) To make, print or publish, or cause to be made, printed or

124published any notice, statement or advertisement, with respect to the

125rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or

126discrimination based on criminal conviction status, or an intention to

127make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.

128(4) To represent to any person because of criminal conviction status

129that any dwelling is not available for inspection or rental when such

130dwelling is in fact so available.

131(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person who

132applies for public housing who has a conviction for manufacture or

133production of methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted

134housing, or to a person subject to a lifetime registration requirement

135under a state sexual offender registration program pursuant to 24 CFR

136960.204 and 24 CFR 982.553. Nothing in this section shall be construed

137to limit the applicability of 24 CFR 960.204 or 24 CFR 982.553 with

138regard to a public housing authority.

139(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to (1) the rental of a

140room or rooms in a single-family dwelling unit if the owner actually

141maintains and occupies part of such unit as his or her residence, or (2)

142a unit in a dwelling containing not more than four units if the owner

143actually maintains and occupies one of such other units as his or her

144residence.

145(d) Nothing in this section limits the applicability of any reasonable

146state statute or municipal ordinance restricting the maximum number

147of persons permitted to occupy a dwelling.

148(e) Any person aggrieved by a violation of this section may file a

149complaint not later than one hundred eighty days after the alleged act

150of discrimination, pursuant to section 46a-82 of the general statutes.

151(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of chapter 814c of the

152general statutes, complaints alleging a violation of this section shall be

153investigated not later than one hundred days after filing and a final

154administrative disposition shall be made not later than one year after

155filing unless it is impracticable to do so. If the Commission on Human

156Rights and Opportunities is unable to complete its investigation or

157make a final administrative determination within such time frames, it

158shall notify the complainant and the respondent in writing of the

159reasons for not doing so.

160Sec. 3. Subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 47a-23c of the

161general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu

162thereof (Effective October 1, 2019):

163(a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, this

164section applies to any tenant who resides in a building or complex

165consisting of five or more separate dwelling units or who resides in a

166mobile manufactured home park and who is either: (A) Sixty-two

167years of age or older, or whose spouse, sibling, parent or grandparent

168is sixty-two years of age or older and permanently resides with that

169tenant, or (B) a person with a physical or mental disability, as defined

170in subdivision [(8)] (12) of section 46a-64b, as amended by this act, or

171whose spouse, sibling, child, parent or grandparent is a person with a

172physical or mental disability who permanently resides with that

173tenant, but only if such disability can be expected to result in death or

174to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months.

175Sec. 4. Section 8-45a of the general statutes is repealed and the

176following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2019):

177A housing authority, as defined in subsection (b) of section 8-39, in

178determining eligibility for the rental of public housing units may

179establish criteria and consider relevant information concerning (1) an

180applicant's or any proposed occupant's history of criminal activity,

181during the time periods established under subsection (a) of section 2 of

182this act, involving: (A) Crimes of physical violence to persons or

183 property, (B) crimes involving the illegal manufacture, sale,

184distribution or use of, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell,

185use or distribute, a controlled substance, as defined in section 21a-240,

186or (C) other criminal acts which would adversely affect the health,

187safety or welfare of other tenants, (2) an applicant's or any proposed

188occupant's abuse, or pattern of abuse, of alcohol when the housing

189authority has reasonable cause to believe that such applicant's or

190proposed occupant's abuse, or pattern of abuse, of alcohol may

191interfere with the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the

192premises by other residents, and (3) an applicant or any proposed

193occupant who is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under

194section 54-252 on account of being convicted or found not guilty by

195reason of mental disease or defect of a sexually violent offense. In

196evaluating any such information, the housing authority shall give

197consideration to the time, nature and extent of the applicant's or

198proposed occupant's conduct and to factors which might indicate a

199reasonable probability of favorable future conduct such as evidence of

200rehabilitation and evidence of the willingness of the applicant, the

201applicant's family or the proposed occupant to participate in social

202service or other appropriate counseling programs and the availability

203of such programs.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(8), a reference to section 47a-1 was deleted for accuracy and in Section 2(a), a reference to Subsec. (c) was added for accuracy.

HSG Joint Favorable Subst.

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

The bill prohibits discrimination in rental housing on the basis of an individual's criminal record, and authorizes aggrieved individuals to file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

It is anticipated that the provisions of the bill will increase complaints filed with CHRO, requiring the addition of one Staff Attorney 1 at a cost of $48,503 in FY 20 (partial year) and $70,060 in FY 21 (full year), and associated fringe benefits of $19,978 and $28,858, respectively.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

1The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 41.19% of payroll in FY 20 and FY 21.

OLR Bill Analysis sHB 5713

AN ACT CONCERNING CONSIDERATION OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS OF A PROSPECTIVE TENANT.

This bill generally prohibits discrimination in rental housing on the basis of an individual's criminal record. It does so by prohibiting housing providers (e.g., landlords, property owners, and housing authorities) from:

1.refusing to rent to a prospective tenant because of his or her criminal history, except for those convicted of certain crimes as described below;

2.discriminating in the terms, conditions, or services of a rental because of a tenant's criminal history;

3.making, printing, or publishing, or causing this to be done, a notice, statement, or advertisement concerning a rental that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on criminal history or an intention to make such a preference, limitation, or discrimination on that basis; or

4.falsely representing a unit as unavailable for inspection or rental to a prospective tenant because of his or her criminal history.

The bill authorizes aggrieved individuals to report alleged violations to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

Under the bill, the prohibition against refusing to rent to a prospective tenant on the basis of criminal history does not extend to those convicted of, or released from confinement for, committing certain misdemeanors or felonies in the preceding three and 10 years,

respectively. Specifically, housing providers may, during the three or 10-year look-back periods, consider criminal convictions that would adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants if the applicant were to commit them again. The bill specifies the procedure housing providers must follow in denying an applicant on this basis. It creates an exception for public housing authorities (PHAs) that must, under federal law, reject applicants with certain criminal histories from public housing.

Under current law, PHAs may deny admission to individuals with specific types of criminal records (although they must consider certain mitigating factors). The bill limits their ability to do so to the three and 10-year look-back periods described above.

Lastly, the bill makes a technical change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2019

HOUSING PROVIDERS

The bill's prohibitions on rental housing discrimination apply to landlords and rental property owners or their agents, realtors, and property managers, PHAs, and other entities that provide housing opportunities to potential tenants (i.e., housing providers). But they do not apply to rentals of (1) rooms in single-family, owner-occupied dwellings or (2) units in multi-family dwellings that contain up to four units if one unit is owner-occupied.

REFUSING TO RENT BASED ON CRIMINAL HISTORY

Discriminatory Practice

Under the bill, housing providers may not, on the basis of an applicant's criminal record, (1) refuse to rent a unit after a person makes a bona fide offer, (2) refuse to negotiate for the rental, or (3) otherwise make unavailable or deny a rental unit or deny occupancy in the unit, except as described below.

Exception for Specified Criminal Convictions

The exception is for applicants who were convicted of, or released

from confinement for, committing certain (1) misdemeanors during the three years immediately preceding the rental application or (2) felonies during the preceding 10 years. Housing providers may only consider convictions for crimes that would adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants if the prospective tenant were to commit them again. These include crimes involving physical violence to persons or property; illegal manufacture, sale, or distribution of drugs; injury or risk of injury to, or impairing the morals of, children; and sexual offenses.

Under the bill, a "conviction" is a judgment a court enters upon a guilty or nolo contendere plea or a finding of guilt by a jury regardless of any pending appeal or habeas corpus proceeding arising from such judgment.

Excluded Arrest or Conviction Records

The bill prohibits housing providers from basing an applicant's rejection on expunged convictions or records of arrest or charges that did not result in a conviction. It also bars housing providers from asking consumer reporting agencies to provide criminal records other than those the bill permits them to consider.

Procedure for Denying a Rental Application on the Basis of Applicant's Criminal Record

Under the bill, before denying a rental application based on the applicant's criminal record, the housing provider must (1) notify the applicant in writing that his or her application warrants additional review because of his or her criminal history and (2) allow the applicant an opportunity to provide related mitigating information about the conviction and evidence that he or she would be a good tenant.

The evidence may include the following factors:

1.nature and severity of the crime,

2.facts and circumstances surrounding the crime,

3.length of time since the offense,

4.applicant's good tenant history before or after the offense,

5.applicant's rehabilitation or good conduct since the offense, and

6.anything showing the applicant is unlikely to commit the crime again.

If, after considering the evidence related to these factors, the housing provider rejects an applicant on the basis of his or her criminal record, the provider must provide the rejection in writing. The rejection must specifically state the evidence presented and the reasons for rejection and be sent to the applicant by registered mail, to the address provided in the rental application.

CHRO COMPLAINTS

The bill authorizes anyone aggrieved by a violation of the bill's prohibition on housing discrimination to, within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act, file a complaint with CHRO pursuant to the existing statutory procedure for doing so (see BACKGROUND).

CHRO must investigate complaint allegations within 100 days of receipt and, unless it is impractical to do so, issue a final disposition within one year. If CHRO cannot complete either within the time limits, it must provide written notification to the complainant and respondent and explain why.

The bill does not, however, make conforming changes to the statutes to allow CHRO to grant relief.

PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES

Consideration of Applicant Criminal Records in State-Assisted Public Housing

Under current law, PHAs may reject a prospective tenant for state- funded public housing if he or she has a criminal record involving (1) physical violence to people or property; (2) the sale, distribution, use, or possession of illegal drugs; or (3) acts that would adversely affect

the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants. Under the bill, PHAs may still reject a prospective tenant because of the aforementioned crimes, but only if they occurred during the specified three and 10-year look-back periods.

The bill's look-back limitations do not restrict a PHAs consideration of other factors. Unchanged by the bill, state-subsidized PHAs may also reject a prospective tenant because he or she (1) abuses alcohol in a manner that gives it reasonable cause to believe the behavior may threaten other tenants' health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of their premises; or (2) is subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender due to a sexually violent offense.

By law, PHAs must also consider the time, nature, and extent of the conduct and any factors indicating future improvement, such as evidence of rehabilitation or willingness to attend counseling.

Discrimination Protections not Applicable for Those Convicted of Certain Crimes Cited in Federal Law

The bill's discrimination protections do not apply to individuals applying for public housing who have been convicted of (1) manufacturing methamphetamine on federally assisted housing premises or (2) a crime that subjects them to lifetime registration on a state sex offender registry. The bill further specifies that these provisions do not limit the application of the federal laws prohibiting such individuals from public housing. It is unclear whether these provisions apply to applicants for state- or federally assisted public housing.

STATE AND LOCAL RESTRICTIONS ON MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY

The bill provides that its provisions do not limit the applicability of any reasonable state statute or municipal ordinance restricting the maximum number of persons allowed to occupy a dwelling.

BACKGROUND

Discriminatory Housing Practices

Existing law prohibits discrimination in housing because of race,

religion, sex, national origin, disability, familial or marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, lawful source of income or veteran status. It extends to discrimination in the rental and sale of public and private housing, in housing related terms, conditions, services, loans, mortgages, and in verbal or written statements or advertisements. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with CHRO within 180 days of the alleged incident.

Related Bill

SB 54, reported favorably by the Housing Committee, requires the Department of Housing to establish a limited period pertaining to landlords' review of prospective tenants' criminal records.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Housing Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea 11 Nay 3 (03/07/2019)