2023 Session

Budget Amendments - SB800 (Member Request)

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Chief Patron: Locke
Establish Model Criminal History Screening Policy (language only)

Item 114 #5s

Item 114 #5s

Commerce and Trade
Department of Housing and Community Development


Page 109, after line 14, insert:

"P.1.  Any provider of rental housing that receives, for the development or operation of affordable housing, or as a rental subsidy for occupants of that housing, any state funds, including but not limited to funding from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund or the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, shall not consider an applicant's criminal history unless they do so in accordance with the Model Criminal History Screening Policy developed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.  

2. The Model Criminal History Screening Policy shall be developed based on the following guidelines: a) any criminal history screening shall be conducted only after an applicant has met the housing provider's income and credit criteria; b) any criminal history screening must be limited to the applicant and household members who are 18 years of age and older and shall consider only felony convictions that occurred less than five years before the date of application for housing and that are in one of  the following categories:

1) offenses including the sale, manufacture, or distribution of a controlled substance as defined in Chapter 7, Title 18.2, Code of Virginia

2) offenses involving fraud, including identity theft, use of stolen checks, counterfeiting, and forgery

3) property offenses, including larceny, burglary, arson and other intentional damage to property

4) violent offenses against a person, including assault, battery, and homicide

5) sex offenses, including rape, sexual assault and taking indecent liberties with a minor;

c) applicants with a prima facie disqualifying criminal history shall be provided an opportunity to present evidence of mitigating factors, such as age at the time of the criminal conduct, evidence of good tenant history, evidence of rehabilitation, time elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal conduct, and whether  the criminal conduct arose from the applicant's status as a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or dating violence or from the applicant's disability; d) if the evidence of the mitigating factors indicates that the applicant does not present a threat to current residents, employees, or property, the housing provider shall approve the application for housing; and e) the housing provider shall determine a process to receive and consider evidence of  the mitigating factors and provide an explanation to applicants in writing.

3. Anyone denied admission to rental housing because of a criminal history by a housing provider that does not comply with the Model Policy developed by the department shall have the right to challenge such denial through a process developed and administered by the department.  The department shall develop a procedure to be used in challenging denials of admission and make the procedure available to the public no later than November 30, 2023."    


(This language only amendment establishes a requirement for the development of a Model Criminal History Screening Policy by the Department of Housing and Community Development.)