Renting to felons

7 Replies

I am looking to rent an Apartment in St. Petersburg Fl. I was turned down for one because I let them do a background check on me. I had a withheld judgment five years ago and to my understanding after I did my probation with the judgment I have NOT been convicted of a crime.  I was also told that I could say I am not a convicted felon. So I guess I need to know are there any places That I can rent from. I am fifty years old, never been in trouble before in my life. It was a burglary charge to where my children came in to the store I was working at and took some stuff. I was charged because I knew about it. My husband is retired Military and works in Clearwater Fl. and we can't find a place to live. Any help out there would be greatly appreciated.

I usually tell people fill out applications to be completely honest.  Tell me upfront if they have any convictions or judgements against them.  If they tell me ahead of time and they are not too severe, I work with them.  If I find things they don;t tell me about, its an automatic rejection.

My advice would be to upfront and tell the person taking your application the same information you just mentioned.

@Kellie Kreps

I clearly understand your predicament. However, you have to understand that Real Estate agents and landlords have to do their due diligence and request a background check. So, this incident will show whether you divulged it or not.

I am being frank with you, but, some landlords are reluctant to rent to people with documented convictions. Although you stated that you were NOT convicted of a crime. 

In this case you should pursue the removal of this charge from your name.

However, my suggestion to you will be to pursue your apartment hunting via a non-profit organization that caters to Veterans and have your husband spearhead this transaction. 

He will probably get more traction in this way.

Good luck on your journey!

I'm a landlord in St. Petersburg, FL.   Unfortunately, I don't have any vacancies now, or any coming up I know about.   So I can't help much immediately.

Few landlords, myself included, will rent without a background check.   I encourage you to discuss your issue with any potential landlord...before you pay the application fee.   If they are good guys, they won't take your application fee unless they can overlook the issue you presented AND it's consistent with the data provided by tenant screening sources.

If the information we see is inaccurate, you unfortunately need to try and get it corrected.   Or find an even more flexible landlord.

I have and am pretty sure others have taken a chance with your described situation.   Full disclosure up front goes a long way.

Hope that helps!

Best, Bob

Originally posted by @Kellie Kreps :

I am looking to rent an Apartment in St. Petersburg Fl. I was turned down for one because I let them do a background check on me. I had a withheld judgment five years ago and to my understanding after I did my probation with the judgment I have NOT been convicted of a crime.  I was also told that I could say I am not a convicted felon. So I guess I need to know are there any places That I can rent from. I am fifty years old, never been in trouble before in my life. It was a burglary charge to where my children came in to the store I was working at and took some stuff. I was charged because I knew about it. My husband is retired Military and works in Clearwater Fl. and we can't find a place to live. Any help out there would be greatly appreciated.

You have legal history, so you need to know how to talk openly and honestly about it. Have you made full restitution? Did your children make full restitution? So the thieves were your children (underage?) and you, as the responsible adult, knew about the theft and did nothing about it? They charged you with burglary, not theft? Were you released of the charges or not? Sounds like you went to court, there was a judgement, there was court ordered probation.... so what was the final outcome on the charges? You need to know what is on your record and own up to it. So do your kids. Sorry, but something doesn't add up here.

I did do the time 30 days for the crime. I did 2 years probation and after that I got my withheld judgment. I am not hiding anything. I thought the judgment was suppose to clear my record and it also means that I was not convicted of the crime. So I was just wondering why I am unable to rent an apartment. I am up front with the landlords.

Originally posted by @Prashant P. :

I usually tell people fill out applications to be completely honest.  Tell me upfront if they have any convictions or judgements against them.  If they tell me ahead of time and they are not too severe, I work with them.  If I find things they don;t tell me about, its an automatic rejection.

My advice would be to upfront and tell the person taking your application the same information you just mentioned.

I always advise the same from any tenants who apply to any of my properties.  I'd much rather have an open and honest discussion with them up front about it and have them look me in the eye and tell me how they've turned their life around than have them not say anything and have me find it on the background check.  

I generally try to believe in the goodness of people and actually one of my best tenants right now is one that has a record.  He was honest with me up front, I believed his story of how he's changed. and he has been in one of my units for about a year and a half and not once been late with the rent.  

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