How landlords decide who gets to move into their buildings is a subject that has received surprisingly little scrutiny. Until recently.
Two years ago, HJC and partner organizations launched an extensive research project after learning how much the standards for making these decisions vary and how often the criteria appear arbitrary. Working with community partners like the Alliance, CSP, FNA, ACER, NADC, Pueblos, and HomeLine, and with support from the Family Housing Fund, we have been working to unravel the mysteries of the tenant screening system. The goal: to develop a set of evidence-based principles that would treat renters equitably while still providing landlords with a reliable means of determining who would be a successful tenant. Since then, HJC and its partners have gathered extensive information from a wide range of stakeholders, locally and nationally, and are now preparing a report with its findings and recommendations.
While this work has been proceeding, a proposed ordinance was introduced before the Minneapolis City Council to regulate tenant screening practices. Based on our research, HJC was able to offer extensive comments to the Minneapolis City Council on the proposed ordinance, resulting in substantial changes, including the elimination of credits scores as a factor in screening. Now the City of St. Paul appears poised to move forward on tenant protections as well with input from HJC.
Public policy development involves both great ideas grounded in community needs, and the techncial details required to make an ordiannce do what it is intended without loopholes or unintended consequences. That’s one of HJC’s specialties.