Division on Civil Rights Takes Enforcement Action Against Property Management Company for Failing to Comply with the Fair Chance in Housing Act

Penn Properties, LLC Receives 19 Notices of Violation for Alleged Discrimination at Properties Across New Jersey

For Immediate Release: May 16, 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division on Civil Rights
– Sundeep Iyer, Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Tara Oliver

TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) announced today that DCR has issued 19 Notices of Violation to Penn Properties, LLC, a Millstone-based property management company, for allegedly violating New Jersey’s Fair Chance in Housing Act (FCHA) in connection with 19 different properties across the state.

For each of the 19 rental properties it operates, Penn Properties, LLC, published and used a rental application that asks prospective renters unlawful questions about their prior criminal history. The FCHA prohibits housing providers from asking such questions prior to making a conditional offer of housing. In most cases, housing providers are not permitted to deny housing to someone simply because they have a criminal record.

The FCHA, the first state law in the country that provides broad protections against housing discrimination on the basis of prior criminal history, went into effect on January 1, 2022 and generally bars housing providers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on an application form or in an interview prior to making the applicant a conditional offer of housing. Because policies and practices that limit housing opportunities for people with criminal records have a disproportionate impact on people of color and on Black people in particular, the law addresses a significant driver of racial inequity in housing access.

“Having stable housing makes it more likely that someone can successfully reintegrate into their community after incarceration. The Fair Chance in Housing Act reflects our state’s commitment to ensuring that people have access to stable housing upon reentry,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We are committed to making affordable, safe housing attainable for all of our residents, regardless of their criminal history. Today’s enforcement actions underscore that commitment.”

“The Fair Chance in Housing Act is a groundbreaking law that provides critical protections against discrimination on the basis of prior criminal history. Nearly three years after the law was enacted, however, some housing providers and management companies in our state continue to disregard the law’s most basic requirements,” said Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights. “That’s why, under Attorney General Platkin’s leadership, we will continue to prioritize enforcement of our nation-leading protections against housing discrimination and to ensure that management companies comply with their obligations under the law.”

The 19 Notices of Violation announced today were related to 19 different properties located in four municipalities across Camden, Middlesex, and Union counties. The Notices of Violation alleged that Penn Properties committed the following violations of the FCHA:

  • Penn Properties’s housing application contained unlawful questions about applicants’ criminal histories. The application asked: “Have you ever been convicted of, or plead Guilty or No Contest to, a Misdemeanor or Felony? If Yes, When?” It also asked, “Have you or anyone named on this application ever been charged for a sex related crime?” Under the FCHA, a housing provider cannot ask about applicants’ criminal records until after they have made a conditional offer of housing, with only limited exceptions.
  • Penn Properties’s housing application contained unlawful questions about prior arrests or charges that may not have resulted in convictions. The application asked, “Have you or anyone named on this application ever been charged, detained or arrested?” Under the FCHA, it is unlawful for a housing provider to consider arrests or charges that did not result in a criminal conviction at any stage of the application process.
  • Penn Properties also required applicants to pay an application fee. Under DCR’s regulations, before accepting an application fee, a housing provider must disclose in writing whether its eligibility criteria include the review and consideration of criminal history, as well as a statement that the applicant may provide evidence demonstrating inaccuracies within the applicant’s criminal record or evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating factors. The application did not provide this required disclosure.

The Notices of Violation advise Penn Properties, LLC that DCR believes its actions are in violation of the law and that it may face civil penalties of up to $1,000 for a first offense, up to $5,000 for a second offense, and up to $10,000 for any subsequent offense. Each Notice of Violation includes information packets explaining in detail the FCHA and the obligations of housing providers under the law.

The enforcement actions announced today are the result of investigative work conducted by DCR’s Fair Chance in Housing Unit, a dedicated enforcement unit within DCR that focuses on violations of the FCHA and the LAD’s prohibition against source-of-income discrimination. Since the law went into effect in 2022, DCR has brought over 200 enforcement actions against housing providers for allegedly violating the FCHA.


For more information on the FCHA and how to file a complaint with DCR, please visit https://www.njoag.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/division-on-civil-rights-home/fcha/.

To view a related video on the FCHA, visit:  https://youtu.be/iSihO98pEgA

DCR is the state agency responsible for preventing and eliminating discrimination and bias-based harassment in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation (e.g., places open to the public like schools, businesses, hospitals, etc.) by enforcing the Fair Chance in Housing Act (FCHA), the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), and the New Jersey Family Leave Act.


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