Tenant Is Now A Felon, Evict?

30 Replies

@Arnie Guida Does the lease have something stating that the tenant can't have a Felony record? If not, the tenant hasn't violated the lease and is in good standing. I'd wait to see how this one plays out instead of trying to evict without cause

I doubt you can do that based on a prior conviction. The tenant is still a citizen, with all attendant rights(except being able to vote, right? Maybe he/she can't own a gun?)

If the tenant pays rent on time and doesn't interfere with other tenants' right to private enjoyment, I'd leave it alone.

Side note: to me, an interesting societal question is about sex predators. A murderer leaves prison and is a free man- a sex predator leaves prison and must notify everyone where he/she lives forever. The sex predator has an impossible time finding housing, the murderer? Not really. It is odd how our society finds reason to levy more punishment against a sex predator than they do against a murderer. Something is wrong with that picture.

And- honestly- a building owner would generally be crazy to rent to a sex predator. Imagine having a ten-unit building, you rent to a sex predator(who has served his/her time,) and the other 9 tenants find out. Some of them flee. The act of renting to someone with that scarlet letter imposes risk and sometimes high costs on the building owner. Why are the risks and costs associated with renting to a sex predator borne solely by the building owner, and not the society which insists upon marking the sex predator forever? 

You need to make sure you do not violate any renters rights laws before jumping the gun. If you don't have anything in the lease like a crime-free addendum or landlord laws to justify an eviction, I'd hold off on an eviction.

Guy pays rent on time and is a good tenant? You might be helping him when he really needs it. While I certainly don't agree with his poor decision making, evicting him won't help yourself or anyone else....and might cause him to make even worse decisions in despair.

He also might not be in violation of your lease

Also, felon's aren't a blanket negative subset of humanity. Most are people who get caught in bad decisions, not motivated malicious intent. I wouldn't worry too much about this guy's personal life until it affects your agreement.

Assess what threat does this DUI tenant pose to you and your rental and other tenants? Is he disturbing others, does he pose a safety risk. My guess is he lost his license for what 10 years? If he isnt driving he may pose less of a risk. On the other hand watch out for unregistered uninsured vehicles. Now if it was theft or dealing illegal drugs there is a risk and it might be different but look at the whole picture as he is an existing tenant.

So only a Felony on the 4th... 

we usually let the drunks stay,, it was the dopers that we had more issues with.. booze is legal,, I'm just saying your free to figure it out, but I personally wouldn't use this to do a non-renewal.

I personal despise any one that drinks and drives, intentionally placing others at risk. There are too many innocent deaths from criminals of this nature. 

I would feel slightly responsible if one of my tenants, a known repeat drunk driver, ran over and kill a neighbours kid. Just saying. I would not take the risk.

My guess, as with a sex offender, a know fellow would probably not be appreciated by co-tenants or neighbours.

My policy is no criminal convictions. Paying rent on time is irrelevant since every tenant is required to pay rent on time. The vast majority of tenants seem to manage to pay rent on time without a felony conviction on their record.

Once, maybe twice but 4 strikes, he belongs in prison, I would not renew his lease. 

As long as no crime was committed on your property I do not believe you would have any legal standing.  However if he were arrested behind the wheel on your property you might have more grounds.  

Your option might be to not renew his lease when the time comes but unless your lease states "eviction with a 4th DUI" there are no grounds to file for such.


I do not understand why you would evict him. Property maintained and rent paid are the two most important factors. Not that I agree at all with the behavior but How does his 4th DUI impact you?

Maybe this is what it takes for him to get sober. I would not rent to a new tenant with this record, but I personally don't have anything in my lease that would allow me to evict, (mine only refers to crimes on the property). Your results may vary....

Ditto all the above.  Unless the lease specifically gives you a clause to allow this, you might be getting yourself in hot water.  And for (maybe) no reason if he is otherwise a good tenant.

Keep him.

Ok, ok...

I used the wrong word.

I should have said "Terminate Tenancy", not "Evict".

Tenancy is currently month to month.

In Wisconsin, you do not need a reason to terminate tenancy.

I would not terminate tenancy over this unless it caused me or other tenants a problem. I don't want to play police, judge, or therapist. How did you find out? I hate it when people overshare- some people always want to get you sucked into their drama.

What problem does him gone fix? To me it sounds like finding a new tenant during the winter will either be a huge pain or vacancy. Plus it'll probably suck quite a bit for him to find a new place to live over the holidays.

Why was 3 DUIs ok but 1 more is now cause to end his tenancy and remove him from his home? Simply because the law classifies a crime as a felony or misdemeanor shouldn't matter, the substance of the crime should be the determining factor. I believe this is a prime example of why a major tool in screening, background checks, are starting to be prohibited in some municipalities.

If he's on a month-to-month lease, then end it once he ends up in jail and unable to pay you the rent. But I wouldn't end it just because you anticipate the possibility of that happening.

Did he lose his license on this DUI, or no? This really only matters if he has to drive to work. If he can't get to work he can't pay rent, and then you can terminate tenancy after that issue has become apparent. But you can't jump the gun and assume he will not be able to get to work, so it would be smarter to wait. For now he may have to go to counseling, and that may end up working out well. In the meantime, if he pays on time, and isn't bothering anyone or doing damage, what would you gain by evicting him? 

With 4 DUI convictions, I would not renew the lease. Why? Because if you don't renew, you can turn the unit relatively quickly. In my estimation, 4 DUI's has established a pattern. I think it's reasonable to assume his next one (likely to happen) is going to get him behind bars because he probably currently has some type of suspended sentence or is on probation. When the person does get locked up, and you then have to go through the full eviction process, do a supervised cleanout of the property and so forth, this is going to result in a significant loss of revenue plus expenses. Have them leave now to prevent a future bigger problem.

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