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Renting an Apartment? Beware of Your Criminal Record


You’ve probably heard that once you’re convicted of a crime, it can be very difficult to find a good job. But, did you know that a criminal record can affect housing as well? That’s right, a lot of landlords will not rent to people with criminal records and this has made it a challenge for offenders to re-enter society and become productive citizens.

Let’s say you have a record. Now, you want to find a new apartment or house to rent. You have your deposit ready. Your things are packed. You even have a moving truck lined up. You’re prepared to prove your income and have your credit checked, but are you prepared for the background check?

It is common for landlords and property managers to run background checks on applicants, especially when they’re renting out apartments. “But is it legal for landlords to run background checks?” Yes, it is legal; however, if a landlord tells you not to apply if you have a criminal record, that can be discrimination.

When Can Landlords Check My Record?

Generally, it’s perfectly legal for landlords to run a background check on an applicant after they submitted a formal application for the apartment or house. If a landlord takes your application, runs a background check on you, discovers you have a record, and then turns you down, he or she must:

  • Give you notice of their adverse action orally, electronically, or in writing.
  • The notice must provide the contact information for the company that ran your background check.
  • The notice must explain your right to fix any inaccurate information, and to obtain a free copy of the report within 60 days of the landlord turning you down.

Do you feel that the landlord or property manager somehow violated your rights when they used your background check? If so, you’re encouraged to report it to the Federal Trade Commission. On the other hand, if you’re facing criminal charges and want to avoid a conviction leading to housing difficulties, contact our firm to meet with a Denton County criminal defense lawyer for free.

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