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How can my criminal record affect my housing options?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Receiving a criminal conviction and dealing with its aftermath can be challenging. These incidents can stay on record for a long time, possibly appearing in background checks for various purposes. Because of criminal history evaluations, a single conviction can impact your life significantly, such as your career opportunities and, sometimes, your housing options.

However, there are laws with provisions enforcing fair housing for all, even for individuals with criminal convictions in their histories. Understanding these protections can be vital, allowing you to make life decisions without becoming subject to unethical housing-related practices.

Is checking my criminal history unlawful?

Like job applications, people looking for housing can also face discrimination during their search. Legislators acknowledged these frequent occurrences, so they created a law to protect people from discrimination. This policy also protects against checking criminal histories to reject potential renters for discriminatory reasons.

According to this law, rejecting someone for a housing opportunity can be unlawful if their conviction on record is unrelated to their ability to meet their rent obligations. For example, the denial can seem discriminatory if the offense in the applicant’s history is for a driving violation, which has nothing to do with fulfilling financial duties to the landlord.

Still, someone can use an individual’s criminal history to reject them as a renter if the conviction may pose safety risks to the landlord or other residents on the property.

Addressing unlawful housing practices

Sometimes, facing rejection for a housing opportunity can be disheartening, but knowing when it becomes unlawful is crucial. Even if you have a criminal conviction on your record, you should exercise your rights more so when discrimination comes into play. In these situations, seeking legal counsel can help clarify the situation and determine your legal options.