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e-CFR data is current as of January 21, 2021

Title 24Subtitle APart 5 → Subpart J


Title 24: Housing and Urban Development
PART 5—GENERAL HUD PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS; WAIVERS


Subpart J—Access to Criminal Records and Information


Contents
§5.901   To what criminal records and searches does this subpart apply?
§5.902   Definitions.
§5.903   What special authority is there to obtain access to criminal records?
§5.905   What special authority is there to obtain access to sex offender registration information?

Source: 66 FR 28794, May 24, 2001, unless otherwise noted.

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§5.901   To what criminal records and searches does this subpart apply?

(a) General criminal records searches. This subpart applies to criminal conviction background checks by PHAs that administer the Section 8 and public housing programs when they obtain criminal conviction records, under the authority of section 6(q) of the 1937 Act (42 U.S.C. 1437d(q)), from a law enforcement agency to prevent admission of criminals to public housing and Section 8 housing and to assist in lease enforcement and eviction.

(b) Sex offender registration records searches. This subpart applies to PHAs that administer the Section 8 and public housing programs when they obtain sex offender registration information from State and local agencies, under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 13663, to prevent admission of dangerous sex offenders to federally assisted housing.

(c) Excluded records searches. The provisions of this subpart do not apply to criminal conviction information or sex offender information searches by a PHA or others of information from law enforcement agencies or other sources other than as provided under this subpart.

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§5.902   Definitions.

(a) Terms found elsewhere. The following terms used in this subpart are defined in subpart A of this part: 1937 Act, drug, federally assisted housing, household, HUD, public housing, public housing agency (PHA), Section 8.

(b) Additional terms used in this subpart are as follows:

Adult. A person who is 18 years of age or older, or who has been convicted of a crime as an adult under any Federal, State, or tribal law.

Covered housing. Public housing, project-based assistance under section 8 (including new construction and substantial rehabilitation projects), and tenant-based assistance under section 8.

Law enforcement agency. The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), police departments and other law enforcement agencies that hold criminal conviction records.

Owner. The owner of federally assisted housing.

Responsible entity. For the public housing program, the Section 8 tenant-based assistance program (part 982 of this title), the Section 8 project-based certificate or project-based voucher program (part 983 of this title), and the Section 8 moderate rehabilitation program (part 882 of this title), responsible entity means the PHA administering the program under an Annual Contributions Contract with HUD. For all other Section 8 programs, responsible entity means the Section 8 owner.

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§5.903   What special authority is there to obtain access to criminal records?

(a) Authority. If you are a PHA that administers the Section 8 program and/or the public housing program, this section authorizes you to obtain criminal conviction records from a law enforcement agency, as defined in §5.902. You may use the criminal conviction records that you obtain from a law enforcement agency under the authority of this section to screen applicants for admission to covered housing programs and for lease enforcement or eviction of families residing in public housing or receiving Section 8 project-based assistance.

(b) Consent for release of criminal conviction records. (1) In order to obtain access to records under this section, as a responsible entity you must require every applicant family to submit a consent form signed by each adult household member.

(2) By execution of the consent form, an adult household member consents that:

(i) Any law enforcement agency may release criminal conviction records concerning the household member to a PHA in accordance with this section;

(ii) The PHA may receive the criminal conviction records from a law enforcement agency, and may use the records in accordance with this section.

(c) Procedure for PHA. (1) When the law enforcement agency receives your request, the law enforcement agency must promptly release to you a certified copy of any criminal conviction records concerning the household member in the possession or control of the law enforcement agency. NCIC records must be provided in accordance with NCIC procedures.

(2) The law enforcement agency may charge you a reasonable fee for releasing criminal conviction records.

(d) Owner access to criminal records—(1) General. (i) If an owner submits a request to the PHA for criminal records concerning an adult member of an applicant or resident household, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section, the PHA must request the criminal conviction records from the appropriate law enforcement agency or agencies, as determined by the PHA.

(ii) If the PHA receives criminal conviction records requested by an owner, the PHA must determine whether criminal action by a household member, as shown by such criminal conviction records, may be a basis for applicant screening, lease enforcement or eviction, as applicable in accordance with HUD regulations and the owner criteria.

(iii) The PHA must notify the owner whether the PHA has received criminal conviction records concerning the household member, and of its determination whether such criminal conviction records may be a basis for applicant screening, lease enforcement or eviction. However, except as provided in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, the PHA must not disclose the household member's criminal conviction record or the content of that record to the owner.

(2) Screening. If you are an owner of covered housing, you may request that the PHA in the jurisdiction of the property obtain criminal conviction records of an adult household member from a law enforcement agency on your behalf for the purpose of screening applicants.

(i) Your request must include a copy of the consent form, signed by the household member.

(ii) Your request must include your standards for prohibiting admission of drug criminals in accordance with §5.854, and for prohibiting admission of other criminals in accordance with §5.855.

(3) Eviction or lease enforcement. If you are an owner of a unit with Section 8 project-based assistance, you may request that the PHA in the location of the project obtain criminal conviction records of a household member from an appropriate law enforcement agency on your behalf in connection with lease enforcement or eviction.

(i) Your request must include a copy of the consent form, signed by the household member.

(ii) If you intend to use the PHA determination regarding any such criminal conviction records in connection with eviction, your request must include your standards for evicting drug criminals in accordance with §5.857, and for evicting other criminals in accordance with §5.858.

(iii) If you intend to use the PHA determination regarding any such criminal conviction records for lease enforcement other than eviction, your request must include your standards for lease enforcement because of criminal activity by members of a household.

(4) Fees. If an owner requests a PHA to obtain criminal conviction records in accordance with this section, the PHA may charge the owner reasonable fees for making the request on behalf of the owner and for taking other actions for the owner. The PHA may require the owner to reimburse costs incurred by the PHA, including reimbursement of any fees charged to the PHA by the law enforcement agency, the PHA's own related staff and administrative costs. The owner may not pass along to the applicant or tenant the costs of a criminal records check.

(e) Permitted use and disclosure of criminal conviction records received by PHA—(1) Use of records. Criminal conviction records received by a PHA from a law enforcement agency in accordance with this section may only be used for the following purposes:

(i) Applicant screening. (A) PHA screening of applicants for admission to public housing (part 960 of this title);

(B) PHA screening of applicants for admission to the Housing Choice Voucher Program (section 8 tenant-based assistance) (part 982 of this title);

(C) PHA screening of applicants for admission to the Section 8 moderate rehabilitation program (part 882 of this title); or the Section 8 project-based certificate or project-based voucher program (part 983 of this title); or

(D) PHA screening concerning criminal conviction of applicants for admission to Section 8 project-based assistance, at the request of the owner. (For requirements governing use of criminal conviction records obtained by a PHA at the request of a Section 8 owner under this section, see paragraph (d) of this section.)

(ii) Lease enforcement and eviction. (A) PHA enforcement of public housing leases and PHA eviction of public housing residents;

(B) Enforcement of leases by a Section 8 project owner and eviction of residents by a Section 8 project owner. (However, criminal conviction records received by a PHA from a law enforcement agency under this section may not be used for lease enforcement or eviction of residents receiving Section 8 tenant-based assistance.)

(2) PHA disclosure of records. (i) A PHA may disclose the criminal conviction records which the PHA receives from a law enforcement agency only as follows:

(A) To officers or employees of the PHA, or to authorized representatives of the PHA who have a job-related need to have access to the information. For example, if the PHA is seeking to evict a public housing tenant on the basis of criminal activity as shown in criminal conviction records provided by a law enforcement agency, the records may be disclosed to PHA employees performing functions related to the eviction, or to a PHA hearing officer conducting an administrative grievance hearing concerning the proposed eviction.

(B) To the owner for use in connection with judicial eviction proceedings by the owner to the extent necessary in connection with a judicial eviction proceeding. For example, criminal conviction records may be included in pleadings or other papers filed in an eviction action, may be disclosed to parties to the action or the court, and may be filed in court or offered as evidence.

(ii) This disclosure may be made only if the following conditions are satisfied:

(A) If the PHA has determined that criminal activity by the household member as shown by such records received from a law enforcement agency may be a basis for eviction from a Section 8 unit; and

(B) If the owner certifies in writing that it will use the criminal conviction records only for the purpose and only to the extent necessary to seek eviction in a judicial proceeding of a Section 8 tenant based on the criminal activity by the household member that is described in the criminal conviction records.

(iii) The PHA may rely on an owner's certification that the criminal record is necessary to proceed with a judicial eviction to evict the tenant based on criminal activity of the identified household member, as shown in the criminal conviction record.

(iv) Upon disclosure as necessary in connection with judicial eviction proceedings, the PHA is not responsible for controlling access to or knowledge of such records after such disclosure.

(f) Opportunity to dispute. If a PHA obtains criminal record information from a State or local agency under this section showing that a household member has been convicted of a crime relevant to applicant screening, lease enforcement or eviction, the PHA must notify the household of the proposed action to be based on the information and must provide the subject of the record and the applicant or tenant a copy of such information, and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information. This opportunity must be provided before a denial of admission, eviction or lease enforcement action on the basis of such information.

(g) Records management. Consistent with the limitations on disclosure of records in paragraph (e) of this section, the PHA must establish and implement a system of records management that ensures that any criminal record received by the PHA from a law enforcement agency is:

(1) Maintained confidentially;

(2) Not misused or improperly disseminated; and

(3) Destroyed, once the purpose(s) for which the record was requested has been accomplished, including expiration of the period for filing a challenge to the PHA action without institution of a challenge or final disposition of any such litigation.

(h) Penalties for improper release of information—(1) Criminal penalty. Conviction for a misdemeanor and imposition of a penalty of not more than $5,000 is the potential for:

(i) Any person, including an officer, employee, or authorized representative of any PHA or of any project owner, who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains any information concerning an applicant for, or tenant of, covered housing assistance under the authority of this section under false pretenses; or

(ii) Any person, including an officer, employee, or authorized representative of any PHA or a project owner, who knowingly and willfully discloses any such information in any manner to any individual not entitled under any law to receive the information.

(2) Civil liability. (i) A PHA may be held liable to any applicant for, or tenant of, covered housing assistance affected by either of the following:

(A) A negligent or knowing disclosure of criminal records information obtained under the authority of this section about such person by an officer, employee, or authorized representative of the PHA if the disclosure is not authorized by this section; or

(B) Any other negligent or knowing action that is inconsistent with this section.

(ii) An applicant for, or tenant of, covered housing assistance may seek relief against a PHA in these circumstances by bringing a civil action for damages and such other relief as may be appropriate against the PHA responsible for such unauthorized action. The United States district court in which the affected applicant or tenant resides, in which the unauthorized action occurred, or in which the officer, employee, or representative alleged to be responsible resides, has jurisdiction. Appropriate relief may include reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs.

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§5.905   What special authority is there to obtain access to sex offender registration information?

(a) PHA obligation to obtain sex offender registration information. (1) A PHA that administers a Section 8 or public housing program under an Annual Contributions Contract with HUD must carry out background checks necessary to determine whether a member of a household applying for admission to any federally assisted housing program is subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement under a State sex offender registration program. This check must be carried out with respect to the State in which the housing is located and with respect to States where members of the applicant household are known to have resided.

(2) If the PHA requests such information from any State or local agency responsible for the collection or maintenance of such information, the State or local agency must promptly provide the PHA such information in its possession or control.

(3) The State or local agency may charge a reasonable fee for providing the information.

(b) Owner's request for sex offender registration information—(1) General. An owner of federally assisted housing that is located in the jurisdiction of a PHA that administers a Section 8 or public housing program under an Annual Contributions Contract with HUD may request that the PHA obtain information necessary to determine whether a household member is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a State sex offender registration requirement.

(2) Procedure. If the request is made in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section:

(i) The PHA must request the information from a State or local agency;

(ii) The State or local agency must promptly provide the PHA such information in its possession or control;

(iii) The PHA must determine whether such information may be a basis for applicant screening, lease enforcement or eviction, based on the criteria used by the owner as specified in the owner's request, and inform the owner of the determination.

(iv) The PHA must notify the owner of its determination whether sex offender registration information received by the PHA under this section concerning a household member may be a basis for applicant screening, lease enforcement or eviction in accordance with HUD requirements and the criteria used by the owner.

(3) Contents of request. As the owner, your request must specify whether you are asking the PHA to obtain the sex offender registration information concerning the household member for applicant screening, for lease enforcement, or for eviction and include the following information:

(i) Addresses or other information about where members of the household are known to have lived.

(ii) If you intend to use the PHA determination regarding any such sex offender registration information for applicant screening, your request must include your standards in accordance with §5.855(c) for prohibiting admission of persons subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement.

(iii) If you intend to use the PHA determination regarding any such sex offender registration information for eviction, your request must include your standards for evicting persons subject to a lifetime registration requirement in accordance with §5.858.

(iv) If you intend to use the PHA determination regarding any such sex offender registration information for lease enforcement other than eviction, your request must include your standards for lease enforcement because of criminal activity by members of a household.

(4) PHA disclosure of records. The PHA must not disclose to the owner any sex offender registration information obtained by the PHA under this section.

(5) Fees. If an owner asks a PHA to obtain sex offender registration information concerning a household member in accordance with this section, the PHA may charge the owner reasonable fees for making the request on behalf of the owner and for taking other actions for the owner. The PHA may require the owner to reimburse costs incurred by the PHA, including reimbursement of any fees charged to the PHA by a State or local agency for releasing the information, the PHA's own related staff and administrative costs. The owner may not pass along to the applicant or tenant the costs of a sex offender registration records check.

(c) Records management. (1) The PHA must establish and implement a system of records management that ensures that any sex offender registration information record received by the PHA from a State or local agency under this section is:

(i) Maintained confidentially;

(ii) Not misused or improperly disseminated; and

(iii) Destroyed, once the purpose for which the record was requested has been accomplished, including expiration of the period for filing a challenge to the PHA action without institution of a challenge or final disposition of any such litigation.

(2) The records management requirements do not apply to information that is public information, or is obtained by a PHA other than under this section.

(d) Opportunity to dispute. If a PHA obtains sex offender registration information from a State or local agency under paragraph (a) of this section showing that a household member is subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement, the PHA must notify the household of the proposed action to be based on the information and must provide the subject of the record, and the applicant or tenant, with a copy of such information, and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information. This opportunity must be provided before a denial of admission, eviction or lease enforcement action on the basis of such information.

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