When you apply for an apartment or rental house, the landlord may look at your history to approve you. They may ask you for proof of income and positive rental history. They may also ask for your permission to run a background check.
For people with a past criminal conviction, this can often mean a denied application. Many landlords choose to deny renters with criminal records. This can lead to those with criminal records having trouble finding housing.
Blanket bans can affect any type of conviction
Some landlords will enact blanket bans on anyone with a criminal record. Even if the conviction was far in the past or was for a non-violent offense, these landlords refuse to approve renters with a record.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has challenged blanket bans for affecting higher percentages of African Americans and Hispanics. But landlords are still able to have policies that prevent those convicted of a crime from renting.
Housing helps prevent repeat offenders
For those who made mistakes in their past, this can deter them from trying to create a better future. Studies have shown that people convicted of crimes tend to re-offend if they don’t have stable housing. And a Washington state program found that the convicted people they provided stable housing to were less likely to re-offend than those without.
Steps you can take
While finding housing can be difficult for people convicted of a crime, there are ways to work around a denial. Most professional property management companies will have strict procedures for applications. But less formal landlords renting out an extra house or a room in their house may not go through the same strict process. They may also take into account the factors around your conviction.
Missouri law also allows you to expunge certain convictions from your record. A lawyer can help you figure out if your conviction is eligible for expungement. Expungement seals these convictions so they don’t show up on a background check.
A criminal record can make finding housing difficult. A denial can make you feel like you are still being punished for a mistake in your past. But there are ways you can find housing despite a criminal conviction.