People with criminal records (ex-cons) become automatically treated as social pariahs once they get out of jail regardless of their offense. Landlords could be extra meticulous with this, or they could be particularly lenient.
The LA Times had an interesting editorial pertaining to helping former inmates secure housing without compromising the safety of landlords and their fellow tenants.
It’s quite a tricky subject, considering that a simple rejection made by a landlord could become grounds for a lawsuit. Yes, ex-convicts have the right to be treated the same as every other citizen, but landlords have a duty to fulfill. They have to protect their property and protect their tenants.
So, is it fair to look into a person’s criminal history before letting them sign the lease? Eh, 50/50. It’s definitely concerning if their offense, for example, is arson. Or maybe they’re a registered sex offender and you’re a landlord who has families as tenants. So, yes. It could be a factor. However, if their offense isn’t as serious as you’d expect, then maybe giving them a chance won’t be too bad.
Again, as a landlord, it’s still your call. If you were faced with the decision, what would you do? Share it with us in the comments below!