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Renting an Apartment with Criminal Record: Expert Advice

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Are you searching for a rental apartment and landlords are denying you because of your criminal record? You are not alone because several people are facing similar problems. Discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, race, gender, disability and family status can’t be tolerated. These kinds of activities are illegal. Unfortunately, a landlord can deny you because of your criminal record to decrease their risk. A homeowner doesn’t want:

  • Late payments
  • Agreement violations
  • Problems with neighbors
  • Socially irresponsible and noisy tenants
  • Illegal activity in a rental unit

Fortunately, some exceptions can help you in your search. For instance, property management organizations and property owners must understand the difference between an arrest record and a conviction record.

An arrest record can be a part of background check, but without the proof of actual conviction, you can’t deny housing. Drug addicts are considered as disabled people, and they get the protection of fair housing regulations. Tenants with any drug addiction can provide a landlord with a plan to show what you are doing to address your addiction. You can show references, certifications, and documents of rehabilitation programs.

With drug-related crimes, the landlord has the right to deny housing to a person with criminal conviction(s) related to the distribution or manufacturing of prohibited drugs. Keep it in mind that a landlord can’t cover up the actual cause of discrimination with criminal records. For instance, if you have denied housing for a Hispanic or black person with a criminal record, but you are accepting a white tenant with a similar issue. You are doing discrimination and will be punished for the violation of the fair housing act.

Record Expungement or Sealing Possibilities

Sometimes, a person commits a stupid mistake in his teenage and struggle for a whole life because of this mistake. Landlords must understand the difference between a con-lifestyle and a repenting behavior. If a person is trying to become the right person, he can make a re-entry in the society. You have to give him a chance instead of pushing him toward isolation.

Fortunately, a person who is trying to become a good person can get the advantage of Record Clearing services. With expungement or record sealing, you can hide your criminal record from the public. A previous convict can ask the court to expunge or seal his records for the public. After a successful expungement or record sealing, you can choose your favorite property to live.

Get Maximum References

Without record clearing, a landlord may not rent out his apartment to a suspicious person. They want the security of their apartment, so they will not prefer anyone with an unhealthy lifestyle. If you can’t get the advantage of record expungement or sealing services, you should find maximum references. These references will help you to convince a property owner that you are a reliable person.

Before applying for a property, you have to collect maximum references. Keep it in mind that criminal record can make your position weak. With the help of credible references, you can prove that you are a reliable candidate. Try to get a reference letter to satisfy landlords. Sometimes, you can get a right property without clearing your record by paying a hefty amount as security deposit. If your landlord is ready to make you his tenant, you have to check the following things before spending money.

Issues in a Contract

Keep it in mind that moving is not a simple job, so carefully read your lease contract. Make sure you are covered for everything. You should not sign any lease without checking the apartment even after bargaining. If a contract has automatic renewal clauses, you should not sign this contract because you can’t say anything about next year. In the next year, you may have to change your city or job. A renewed lease would force you to make payment even without living in this apartment.

If you need privacy, make sure to avoid a lease that gives unlimited access to the landlord without notification. Tenants have some specific rights, and the landlord should make only emergency visits without notice.

Inspect an Apartment

While inspecting an apartment, you are planning to lease; you have to check everything deeply. You can’t decide by looks. Carefully check hidden attributes and if you find any damage, ask your property owner to repair it; otherwise, the landlord can blame you for this damage later.

Important Things to Check

Even after approving price and location, you have to see the place where you will live. Here are some important things to look closely:

  • Sink Faucets, Water and Shower Heads: Ensure hot and cold water comes out of the showerhead and the faucets with good pressure. The toilet must have a properly working flush.
  • Pipes: Check water and gas pipes for leaks.
  • Appliances and Electricity: Make sure that appliances are working correctly and the electricity is available. Carefully judge the performance of electric devices and lights. Moreover, you have to check the heater and air conditioner to see if they are fine.
  • Windows and Walls: Carefully check the windows if they lock, close and open properly. Carefully inspect walls because some walls are shared with attached apartments. You may face a noise problem in these types of flats.
  • Noise: A student can’t afford outside noise during exam days. If you are a student, you should choose a quiet and calm space. In a trafficked area, you will find it difficult to concentrate on your studies.

Negotiate with Your Landlord

If things are going smooth, the landlord is happy with you, and you like his/her apartment, you can do some negotiation with him. Collecting some necessary details about your property owner is essential. If you are getting property from a management company with thousands of apartments and houses for rent, it can be challenging to negotiate. If you are dealing with a family, you can negotiate successfully to save some money. They may offer you some discount. Online platforms may provide you with discounted offers on special occasions.

Carefully read the lease and see the conditions. If you find unnecessary things in your lease, you should talk to your landlord. If you are ready to take a few responsibilities, such as lawn cutting or handling deliveries, you have to ask the property owner to decrease the rent.

Clarify Situation of Parking

Presence of parking lot in your selected building doesn’t mean that renters can access this place. Sometimes, you may not get space in a parking lot near your apartment because of limited space. If you own a vehicle, make sure to talk to your potential landlord about their parking policy.

Check Available Storage Space

You can’t judge the storage space of your house by considering its size. Sometimes, big places lack storage space and require you to arrange a separate location to store books or winter clothes. If you want to avoid this situation, you have to inspect your apartment for available storage space carefully. Unlike duplexes and single-family houses, apartments lake extra closets or a hall.

Avoid Extra Thin Walls

While living in apartments, you will have neighbors on your both sides. Several modern apartments feature soundproof walls, but an old building often has thin walls. In this situation, you have to bear noise from your surrounding flats. Before choosing an apartment, visit this place during office and school hours in the morning. This time is ideal to find out if your apartment has sufficient soundproofing.

Ensure the Presence of Utilities

Rending one apartment with maximum utilities can help you to save money. If you have no problem in arranging extra money for internet or electricity bills, you can efficiently manage your monthly budget. Ask your potential landlord whether utilities are included in monthly rent. If these are not included in the rent, you can ask about estimated money for the payment of utility bills.

Community Rules

Just like co-ops and condos, apartment communities often have their rules and regulations. For example, you can’t change outward appearance of a rented apartment. You can’t take your car on territory around an apartment complex. To avoid any trouble, you have to check the community rules and follow them. Before choosing an apartment, consider these rules if you can’t follow them, it will be better to avoid this space.

Communication with Prospective Neighbors

Keep it in mind that you will live in your rented apartment for almost six months, one year or even more. It will be a long-term investment, so you should talk to your potential neighbors. In this way, you can understand the nature of your neighbor. It will help you to avoid peculiarities and problems linked to a building and apartment.

You have to define amenities that you will need in your house. To make your work easy, you should shortlist renters with necessary amenities as per your needs. From the fireplace to hardwood floors and stainless steel kitchen, you can shortlist anything as per your needs and budget. It will help you to choose a suitable apartment for you.

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