Is DUI a reason to Reject Renter

31 Replies

I have a prospective renter who has a recent DUI. I use the Smartmove app to screen. Does anyone know if the Smartmove flags DUI's. If the app automatically rejects because of DUI, I would not want him to waste his money. Thoughts?

Why bother screening further? you already have enough info. Many people with dui's spend their rent money on alcohol-I would not take that chance. 

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Originally posted by @Marci Stein :

Why bother screening further? you already have enough info. Many people with dui's spend their rent money on alcohol-I would not take that chance. 

 You might be 100% right, might be completely wrong. A DUI doesn't mean they are an alcoholic. I know some really good people that have DUIs. One actually pulled over because she knew she shouldn't be driving, crawled In the back seat, feel asleep. When a cop woke her up, she told the truth and got a dui even tho he didn't catch her driving. But for the record, I hate the act of drinking and driving.

I'd actually be more concerned about them not having a driver's license (assuming it's revoked ) than the DUI/alcohol problems. They might not be able to get to work depending on the area.

Everything's relative. 

What is the neighborhood quality?

  • A neighborhood: May be pretty concerned.
  • B neighborhood: May be a little concerned.
  • C neighborhood: Not a cause for concern.
  • D neighborhood: DUI is the LEAST of your worries.
  • F neighborhood: The car he drove drunk was probably stolen.

@Curtis Mears , How do you know about the DUI if you haven't done the screening yet? Did the applicant share this with you? It may be risky basing your rejection just on that. Courts around the country are turning things like this into a Fair Housing issue if they suspect applicants are being shut out of the housing market specifically for past criminal records. The reason being that doing so may unfairly target certain populations. Moreover, if you deny him because you think he is a possible addict, you could set yourself up for a disability discrimination lawsuit. If he is an interested applicant see what else his financial story reveals to you. People who drink irresponsibly or do drugs usually have problems with fiances, credit, employment, and rental history. If these areas are stellar, the incident may have been an unusual occurrence. Either way, it is risky to deny an applicant soley based on past criminal conduct.

Good luck!

Originally posted by @James Wise :

Everything's realitive. 

What is the neighborhood quality?

A : May be pretty concerned.

B : May be a little concerned.

C : Not a cause for concern.

D : DUI is the LEAST of your worries.

F : The car he drove drunk was likely stolen.

 Neighborhood is the B+ range. Rent is $1,400.

Originally posted by @Penny Clark :

@Curtis Mears, How do you know about the DUI if you haven't done the screening yet? Did the applicant share this with you? It may be risky basing your rejection just on that. Courts around the country are turning things like this into a Fair Housing issue if they suspect applicants are being shut out of the housing market specifically for past criminal records. The reason being that doing so may unfairly target certain populations. Moreover, if you deny him because you think he is a possible addict, you could set yourself up for a disability discrimination lawsuit. If he is an interested applicant see what else his financial story reveals to you. People who drink irresponsibly or do drugs usually have problems with fiances, credit, employment, and rental history. If these areas are stellar, the incident may have been an unusual occurrence. Either way, it is risky to deny an applicant soley based on past criminal conduct.

Good luck!

 He shared the information with me as he did not want to do credit check if it was an automatic rejection. I informed him I was not certain how the criminal check would be viewed. I did ask him if it was a misdemeanor or felony. He is not sure now as it has not been resolved (offense was in October 2015), but his attorney believes it will be misdemeanor as it is his first offense. That is why I was wondering if anyone knows how the online app views DUI.

Originally posted by @Curtis Mears :
Originally posted by @Penny Clark:

@Curtis Mears, How do you know about the DUI if you haven't done the screening yet? Did the applicant share this with you? It may be risky basing your rejection just on that. Courts around the country are turning things like this into a Fair Housing issue if they suspect applicants are being shut out of the housing market specifically for past criminal records. The reason being that doing so may unfairly target certain populations. Moreover, if you deny him because you think he is a possible addict, you could set yourself up for a disability discrimination lawsuit. If he is an interested applicant see what else his financial story reveals to you. People who drink irresponsibly or do drugs usually have problems with fiances, credit, employment, and rental history. If these areas are stellar, the incident may have been an unusual occurrence. Either way, it is risky to deny an applicant soley based on past criminal conduct.

Good luck!

 He shared the information with me as he did not want to do credit check if it was an automatic rejection. I informed him I was not certain how the criminal check would be viewed. I did ask him if it was a misdemeanor or felony. He is not sure now as it has not been resolved (offense was in October 2015), but his attorney believes it will be misdemeanor as it is his first offense. That is why I was wondering if anyone knows how the online app views DUI.

 I just looked at smartmove's website and I couldn't find the answer.  I think what I'd tell the applicant is that he can call smartmove and ask them how they grade people with DUIs, and that it's up to him if he wants you to submit his application or not.   And in the meantime, you're going to keep looking at applications.

Leave the decision to him. And the easy thing to do, is just rely on the smartmove recommendation.

Normally, a misdemeanor DUI is when there was no property or person damaged.  If there was, then it would likely be a felony.  Even if it was a first offense.  From what I recall.

But, I'd tell him that you make your decision based on the recommendation given by Smartmove, and it's up to him if he tells you to go ahead and run it or not.  Put it on him to decide or figure out at this point.

What is his Job history like?  If he has not been at his current job that long and if the job requires driving or other things that could be affected by a DUI, his job might let him go.  

True, some people get their first DUI while not being a "drunk" but just getting behind a wheel when they should  not have.

I would look at some other factors on the background check before automatically rejecting him, but the cost of "dealing" with a DUI can be close to $10,000 which might cause him to get behind in rent or cause him to be on very limited funds for awhile.

A page that shows what happens with a DUI:

http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/drunk_driving/north-carolina-dui.htm

I have denied applicants with a DUI. I do not want any children killed in the street near my property because I brought a drunk into the neighbourhood. It might never happen but if it does I do not want to be the one responsible.

One of my renters did have a DUI and even though he was a good renter, his life in general was complicated and drama filled. A few months after him and his gf moved in, they broke up and her part of the salary was gone and then my house was too big for him and half the kids so I ended up letting him break the lease early to avoid possible payment issues and or an eviction for non payment. Luckily I knew I could easily re-rent this and now I have a great family in there also paying a higher rent. But looking back at it I don't think I would rent to someone with a DUi again as that is a sign of poor judgement and can translate to other life decisions they make... And as I am in an area with lots of renters I would disqualify this next time and find someone with no DUI.

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Do you just take smartmoves recommendation?  I don't, I look at what is actually produced in history etc.  I get young people where it says reject and older people where it says approved and I look at the history and find myself reversing those decisions.  I did have one tenant where a driving offense showed up-not DUI. 

As for DUI it is like anything a piece of what you get. Heck here they publish names in the paper before you are even convicted so look at those too.  A DUI is usually not a felony (but it can be). DUI conviction is known to be negatively associated with income not sure that isn't partly enforcement related.   I don't see the sobriety stops in affluent areas and the more affluent can afford a lawyer and also a driver when they lose their license...  I don't think it should be an automatic rejection but that's me.

If you blow a .08 or above that's considered a DUI. how many of you people have had 2 glasses of wine then drove home? Also my sister had a DUI on her record. She was 20 years old and blew a .02 in New York, zero tolerance. Was half a beer I think while she waiting to drive her actual drunk friends home. Everyone getting into, or in the business should be able to screen properly and judge character. If the person seems fine, has good credit and meets income limits why not? 

A DUI is a character issue, but, as several have said, it depends on the situation. If I had a dearth of applicants, I would consider the person. But from my experience, a person with a DUI is usually someone who habitually drinks heavily. Yes, some are really unlucky, but statistically speaking, @Sarah Larbi is exactly right about the other poor choices more likely to come with the person. We had a heavy drinker in our rental and she was OK. But lots of personal drama, job loss (late rent), and carelessness with the rental, and headaches.

PS-  most people who get DUI's have been drinking and driving alot more times  than just that one time they got caught! Irresponsibility in one area usually means the same in other areas ,like paying rent. I would guess his credit rating is low.

1 dui is not enough for me to deny someone. It's not a perpective into someone's personality and it defines nothing about their character:

imagine you get pulled over at 730am and blow an (alleged by cop) .08 you go to jail, you lose your license

in 18 months you get the case dropped because it was nonsense in the first place.

you have an 800 beacon, cash in the bank, well paying job, and a few rental properties.

Would you rent to him???

well, this is what happened to me. I'm not an alcoholic and rarely irresponsible, just got hemmed up by an ambitious cop. Everyone has a story, no need to blanket label people what you think they might be.

Originally posted by @Dustin Beam :
Originally posted by @Marci Stein:

Why bother screening further? you already have enough info. Many people with dui's spend their rent money on alcohol-I would not take that chance. 

 You might be 100% right, might be completely wrong. A DUI doesn't mean they are an alcoholic. I know some really good people that have DUIs. One actually pulled over because she knew she shouldn't be driving, crawled In the back seat, feel asleep. When a cop woke her up, she told the truth and got a dui even tho he didn't catch her driving. But for the record, I hate the act of drinking and driving.

I'd actually be more concerned about them not having a driver's license (assuming it's revoked ) than the DUI/alcohol problems. They might not be able to get to work depending on the area.

 That goes both ways, I had my license revoked for 3 years with no knowledge of it being revoked. Long story, so I got a speeding ticket and it had gotten deferred so I had a program where as long as I paid my fines and did my community service and took a driving class it would be deferred and not on my record. So I did all that my deferment counselor told me okay you're good to go I gave him all my paperwork and I thought that was that. Also about a week later a senior citizen hit me trying to turn right on a red light when I had the Green Arrow and my insurance card had soda all over it so the cops gave me some ticket I guess to go show my current insurance ,which the previous week when I got the speeding ticket the cop just looked up my insurance and saw it was active and that was fine. So I didn't really worry about it at the time I had a baby I just was doing on my speeding ticket things and just didn't even think about it really I didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe six months later I'm at my best friend's birthday party with all the cops show up and I decided to stay because I'm 21 and I'm not doing anything illegal so they take our ids everyone who decided to stay and come back like 10 minutes later and tell me that I'm under arrest and I have no idea what for. So in the car they tell me that I have two warrants they can't see what it's for I'm pretty sure they didn't even read me my Miranda Rights. But anyway I just was in the holding cell for a couple hours so it wasn't that bad but come to find out I had two warrants because I didn't go show my current insurance and because I apparently had another court date that my deferment counselor didn't tell me I needed to go to for the speeding ticket that I thought everything had been completed for. So I get everything dismissed prove that I did everything for the speeding ticket prove that my insurance was current at the time and everything is all good until I go to get a new driver's license because mine was all that and then the DMV tells me that my license is suspended and I have no idea what for, this is 3 years later. No one ever told me that from all of that my license was suspended and I needed to get it reinstated and I never got pulled over so there was no way of me knowing that I didn't have my license. The system is jacked, but I am a good person, and would hate for someone to not rent to me for something that I dont feel was really my fault. 

I Personally think that it depends on several factors, blood alcohol count!, most differently first offense and age! Also each state has it own laws pertains to alcohol intake, consider your state laws, person size and body weight.. hope that helps, just an opinion.

My opinion is if you drink and drive you are a potential murderer. Strong position, you bet, I have my reasons but primarily any one that does it can kill innocent people and as a landlord I do not tolerate reckless stupidity. It is a measure of a individuals level of social responsibility and that is what I, as a landlord, evaluate.  A DUI is one of the most serious, non criminal charges, a individual can have and I do not care what the circumstances are regarding how they got it. They can rent from another landlord that wants to take a risk.

One DUI is not a good reason to reject an renter, in my opinion.  Now, if there's a history of DUIs and other criminal offenses, then that's another story, but a single DUI is just a one-time mistake.  If that renter has a good credit history, good landlord references, verifiable employment and no additional significant criminal history, I would rent to them in a heartbeat.  ,

@Marci Stein

100% correct. One DUI means they have only been caught once. If you have a DUI it means you  regularly drink and drive but have only, by chance, been caught once. You will continue to do it and may or may not get caught again before you have a accident. Any one that believes having one drink and getting behind the wheel is OK must accept the responsibility that they are placing innocent lives in danger.