Get Approved for an Apartment (Even With a Criminal Record)

By: Gen Wright

If you are trying to rent an apartment and have a criminal record, you've no doubt faced struggles in getting approved. Being denied housing can be one of life's most discouraging events. Hopefully the following will provide some information to make the search for your new home a little easier and a little more successful.

Apartment complexes are run by management companies who may utilize several methods in determining a person's eligibility to rent. One most commonly used is a criminal background check.

The main reason this is implemented is the concern of safety for fellow renters within the complex and community. The general belief exists that persons with previous criminal behavior are more likely to fall back into destructive patterns, thus creating an unsafe environment for their neighbors.

A secondary reason for conducting a background check is to justify the Apartment complex's rent increases. Renters are more likely to stay through these increases when they have peace of mind that their families are in a secure environment. The apartment complex benefits from a high rate of occupancy and a boost in revenue.

Felony convictions are more of a focus of concern than misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are only liable to be punished by fines whereas a felony will most likely confirm a refusal of occupancy granted.

Luckily, there are a couple of ways to help yourself get accepted if you have a misdemeanor. The first is to start with finding out if you have been granted what is referred to as a "deferred adjudication". This is also known as "community supervision" and is sometimes given to first time offenders. If this is the case, the county clerk's office can provide you with a deposition which you can include in your application to rent. Information in the deposition will include the misdemeanor offense, the court present, the ruling, proof of the "deferred adjudication" and an acknowledgement that you have completed the community service. It will also state that your offense cannot be grounds for discrimination on getting an approval.

Another way to ensure your approval is by getting an "expungement". This seals your records and is based on eligibility. Unfortunately you're normally not eligible for consideration for expungement until 10 or more years after the conviction--and even then, the decision is up to the State.

A better approach is to contact people who have already done the homework for you. We're talking, for one, real estate agents. In many communities, some agents already have lists of those who will rent to those with a record, and for charitable reasons (and tax purposes) will help you free of charge. Another person "in the know" would be a local probation officer. Even if you're not on probation or parole, you can contact the probation department and they will often share with you inforation they have about places where you can rent with a record.

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