Tenant Is Now A Felon, Evict?

30 Replies

@Arnie Guida

There is a huge silver lining here. He is now a felon. That means it is very very difficult for him to find housing. If he is a good tenant and pays on time keep him. He'll never move. You can raise his rent to market value at the end of the lease term and he probably won't move. He needs you because nobody else will rent to him.

This is from HUD's website:

2. Exclusions Because of Prior Conviction

In most instances, a record of conviction (as opposed to an arrest) will serve as sufficient evidence to prove that an individual engaged in criminal conduct.29 But housing providers that apply a policy or practice that excludes persons with prior convictions must still be able to prove that such policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest. A housing provider that imposes a blanket prohibition on any person with any conviction record – no matter when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed, or what the convicted person has done since then – will be unable to meet this burden.

Read the whole LONG thing here:


I have taken this to mean that I can no longer have a blanket rule that says "no felonies."  In your case, do you know if he'll be going to jail?  If so, might want to talk to him about moving out and storing his stuff himself before he goes.  

I would not evict. I agree with some of the other posts on here. His living situation may be the only thing that is stable in his life. Also, you would go through all the hassle for someone who is otherwise a good resident. If you choose not to renew his lease, that is another thing. At least he will have advance notice and it would be less likely to put him in further distress.

4 things may happen.

1) He sobers up and continues on as he is.

2) He goes to prison and you have to deal with that.

3) He has an accident and he/someone gets hurt and he can't live there anymore.

4) Nothing and he continues living like he is.

You have to decide what your tolerance level is.

I would talk to him and put something in writing (after speaking to an attorney) about breaking of a moral or societal clause if you have one.

There are drunks who are quiet and mellow when drunk and there are drunks who are obnoxious and loud when drunk.  What kind is he?  Can he keep a job with his record?  His personal life (if quiet and responsible with his rental) is generally not our business.  I have had 2 quiet and mellow drunks that rented from me until their death.  They were good tenants.  I have also had the obnoxious kind who were evicted.  And good riddance to them.

There are a lot of drinkers in Wisconsin.  How much do you want to limit your tenant base?  Worry more about the druggies--they never work out. 

I always seek a personal conversation with the tenant if I become aware of a situation like this.

Speculating about all the "what if"s wont get you to a good decision. Just have the talk with him and see how he feels about the whole thing. He might remnain a good tenant or he might suggest to leave and you can work out a plan to do that. 

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