Q: An applicant has a pending criminal charge for statutory rape and is going to trial next month. He says that I have to rent to him and cannot consider the pending charges because he is “innocent till proven guilty.” Is that true? What happens if he is convicted and I have a registered sex offender on my property?
A: In my opinion, if there is a pending criminal case for such an egregious crime that, if convicted, would be grounds for a denial then the pending charge would be grounds for a “conditional denial” until the criminal case is dismissed. If that is what you follow, you would need to have a written policy to that effect. Under the 2016 HUD memo on criminal standards, an arrest is not proof of anything and a person is innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, if someone was arrested 4 years ago, you must ignore that. The memo doesn’t address a pending case – but my opinion is that if there is a pending criminal case for such a heinous crime, you can conditionally deny it until that case is dismissed.
– Mark B. Zinman, Attorney
Zona Law Group, P.C.
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