Tenant screening: arrests & felonies

21 Replies

I would never deny somebody because of a misdemeanor, they could’ve had a minor consumption disorderly conduct years ago when they were in college or do you are you along time ago. I won’t except Felonies.

I immediately reject any applicant that has obvious blemishes. I do not compromise my standards to provide anyone a second chance when there are better applicants that are more deserving.

There will always be desperate landlords or those with low standards that will rent to them.

Not an automatic denial. Only felony I would accept is 1 DUI with no other priors. Like @Marcus Johnson said, if its a public intoxication that happened in their 20s then I wouldn't care. If they had 3 PIs and 2 DUIs, it looks like a pattern. Hard no on violent offenses even if it is a misdemeanor. 

I would not immediately deny them because of an arrest or felony. I take into consideration how long ago the person was charged, whether it was a violent crime, and if there are other concerning things like bad credit that appear on their screening report. I also would take into consideration the amount of crimes on their record as those above stated.

Keep in mind it takes a certain personality/attitude to commit a felony. I've meet a few that had a felony over 10 years ago. They still have a cocky attitude. Why would I rent to them when I have 3-4 other people that don't.

You need to be very careful with this subject. Denying a felon can be considered a fair housing violation. Denying for arrest would almost certainly be a fair housing violation. I know the rules are a little more vague with owner/landlords but you still need to be careful with this.

Originally posted by @Dick Rosen :

You need to be very careful with this subject. Denying a felon can be considered a fair housing violation. Denying for arrest would almost certainly be a fair housing violation. I know the rules are a little more vague with owner/landlords but you still need to be careful with this.

 This, you need a policy on how to handle various charges and generally you cannot deny someones application after it has beeen a reasonable amount of years. Look up disparate impact

In a past life I was quite the degenerate.

no arrest record, but probably should have a long one. I can't put a blanket opinion on people because of past mistakes. I would want context.

I, personally, look forward to giving people a second chance who I feel can maximize it.

convicts misbehaved in very specific circumstances most times, it may be completely irrelevant to what you're asking of them. People change, grow, learn.

edit - I just saw you mention they had a recent eviction. this would immediately disqaualify them LOL

Wasn't my rental, but I was the PM. Best Tenant I EVER HAD!

Dishonorable Discharge United States Marines 1989. Got drunk, punched his wife once, did two years in Leavenworth. 

I didn't approve him. He was my absolute favorite. In Texas a DD is considered a felony.

Rent on time EVERY month. Yard perfect, never a complaint, changed his own light bulbs. He was there for nearly four years.

The exception, not the rule, but the best dude I ever met tenant wise.

Not giving legal advice, but you might want to look up the HUD disparate impact ruling from a couple of years ago. Basically, it says that blanket denials because of certain convictions could be a fair housing violation because some offenses have a disparate impact on minority communities.

Originally posted by @Andy Bondhus :

@Dick Rosen, I must of missed something, under what class are felons protected under?

Not a protected class but based on fair housing guidelines you can't just deny all felons. HUD feels that a certain percentage of felons are included in protected classes.

Protected class or not when you deny any applicant you never give a reason. Most if not all applicants have blemishes you can use to justify your denying a application without using criminal record as the reason if challenged. You can even use a applicants attitude or appearance as justification to reject. Extremely rare to be challenged on a denial though.

Do not make the mistake of being afraid to protect your investment.

I'm with Thomas S...again..... I never give a specific reason for a denial..... I just say I found an applicant with better qualification and fit for that unit....more vague the better. As soon as you give a specific reason, you may be painting yourself into a corner

As for the felony....depends on what and when and how the candidate stack up on all of my other criteria