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Old 06-01-2008, 08:15 PM
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,766,778 times
Reputation: 446


Originally Posted by jinxor View Post
It depends. I am a landlord and I do use a tenant screening service, and also in my lease agreements, there is a clause stating that if tenant lied on the application, that is grounds for eviction.
Nobody in their right mind is going to evict a tenant for lying on the application.

In my region it would cost you $10k to $20k to evict someone and it would take a year. You evict a tenant because they are way behind on the rent payment or damaging the property, etc. but for telling a white lie about something embarrassing that isn't even a reliable predictor of how well the tenant will work out?

In my state, and many states, you can't get access to a person's criminal record without their prior written permission, and it takes 4 to 6 weeks or longer.

If you denied me a rental I qualify for financially, based on a misdemeanor conviction from protesting the Viet Nam War 40 years ago, I'd sue your pants off though.
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:35 PM
3,646 posts, read 9,023,662 times
Reputation: 5410
If you denied me a rental I qualify for financially, based on a misdemeanor conviction from protesting the Viet Nam War 40 years ago, I'd sue your pants off though.

On what grounds? If he's honest on the application, the landlord doesn't HAVE to rent to him if he has other applicants that qualify as well and doesn't have to give a reason either. Or he could just say that all applicants were equal but he had a better "feel" for the one he chose.

If the guy lies on his application and the landlord discovers it before he moves in, the landlord could point out that it's proof that the applicant is dishonest and he didn't want to rent to someone so quick to lie.

Personally, I'd rather tell the truth. Of course, I'm an honest person without a criminal history. Perhaps those with criminal histories are just less comfortable with the truth... no matter how "minor" the offense was. If it wasn't any big deal... then why lie?

Litigous America... why do so many jump on the lawsuit bandwagon so quickly? "If you... yadayadayada... I'll sue" "I knew there was glass on the playground but so did the landlord, so I'm going to sue" "Your kid wouldn't play with my kid so I'm going to sue"... geez folks... this carp has got to stop!
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:53 AM
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,766,778 times
Reputation: 446
Originally Posted by sskkc View Post
If you denied me a rental I qualify for financially, based on a misdemeanor conviction from protesting the Viet Nam War 40 years ago, I'd sue your pants off though.

On what grounds?

Litigous America... why do so many jump on the lawsuit bandwagon so quickly?
In your case I'd sue you because, 1) people who use oppressive methods deserve a corrective action and, 2) in my state you would be committing a felony crime and civil invasion of my privacy if you were to obtain my court record.

People do jump on the lawsuit bandwagon quickly, but other people jump on the - I'm a small time landlord and will act like I have pseudo-police rights and insert myself into every aspect of your private life if I feel like it bandwagon.

There's risk in being a landlord for profit. People who go in the landlord business should accept the risk they took on and treat tenants like whole human beings who have some dignity and basic rights, not just like cash cows. Housing is a basic human need.

The courts are full of cases where small landlords didn't know where to draw the line on all kinds of issues involving the private lives of tenants because, like some tenants, some landlords aren't very honest or ethical and don't have much sense. I would guess that's why a lot of people think even less of landlords than they do of used car dealers and lawyers.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:23 AM
Location: Tennessee
33,372 posts, read 31,147,849 times
Reputation: 48001
Originally Posted by willdufauve View Post
I was arrested in 1968 while protesting the Viet Nam war. I've never said so on any rental/mortgage/credit application and have never had any repercussions for not disclosing.

I think you should keep it to yourself unless you're applying to work as a police officer, etc. It's not really a landlord's business, they just want to brainwash you into thinking it is, and I think it's very rare that they could get access to those records.
It's my business as your neighbor. I choose to rent in a place where people pass criminal background checks. If he puts it down on his application and the rental people think it's okay to rent to him, anyway, that's good enough for me. I suspect "protesting the war" (without a weapons charge) is not something that would adversely affect the people who live near you or the payment of your rent, so if they found out about it during a criminal background check, they'd rent to you anyway. The potential for you to adversely impact your neighbors or the rental office is nil. I think the key word is "pass." It doesn't extend to all kinds of trouble.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:08 AM
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,248 posts, read 19,916,274 times
Reputation: 3587
Originally Posted by Valkyr47 View Post
So my wife and I are moving to a new apartment hopefully by the first of June so she can start her new job.

We found a place we really like and im in the process of filling out an application. In the past i have filled out many (job apps also) that always asked "have you ever been convicted of a felony?" which i havent so i always checked no. This application however simply asks "have you ever been convicted of a crime?"

Are they referring to felonies only? I unfortunately was convicted of a misdemeanor about a year ago. It was a non-violent crime, i bounced a check on accident. However as you can tell that might be a big deal to a new landlord. If they are referring only to felonies i would like to just check no. I dont however want to lie, but if i cant find a place in the next week im screwed.

So what do you think they are looking for? Even if they mean misdemeanors as well, do most of these rental companies actually do a criminal background check? my wife thinks they would most likely check references first, and then if a reference or two checked out kinda odd they might go that far to be sure. If i do mark it, is that an instant flag to not give us the apartment or will they give a chance at an explanation? thats why im not sure if i should put it down... i figure if i dont and they find out, im not getting the place anyway... so maybe i just dont mark it and they actually wont check?
Bouncing a check is a crime. It is called Deposit Account Fraud. And people that are convicted of it usually did not bounce a check simply "by accident". We have all overdrawn from time to time but when a check bounces, usually the bank always sends you a returned item statement and it shows up on your monthly statement as well. Then the merchant you wrote the check to will send you a notice, often followed by another notice by registered mail inviting you to make good on the check. Only after all these options have been tried will a merchant go to the Sheriff and take out a warrant. You should have taken care of this matter before it even got this far. If you did not have the funds to cover the check, you should have called the merchant and set up a partial payment plan- most businesses do not like to jail their customers or take time off to appear in court.
That aside, the fact is that the crime will appear in many records readily available to the the landlord. It would be best you not lie. Put yes, attach an explanation and a court order showing that you have paid the fines and served any probation they might have given you. And, assuming you learned your lesson here, take in your bank statements for the past year showing that you have had no more rubber checks. They probably will not hold it against you.
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:45 PM
24,486 posts, read 35,885,923 times
Reputation: 12504
I would bother me as a Landlord if some one has lied. I check referesses! I check the public records and a bounced check would show up. It might not bother me so much if some one is honest and explained what it is and what for, but if I find some one lied that would be a huge issue to me and if this person would need a reference later on, I bet you what I will say....

Protesting a war 40 years ago, is not an issue to me neither is a little thing some one did when they were young, but if it is a repeated offence sure that is an issue!
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:20 PM
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,766,778 times
Reputation: 446
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
It's my business as your neighbor.
Maybe if you live in communist China, the Russian gulag, or are of the East German stasi ilk. if you value oppression over freedom and dignity, then it's your "business" as a neighbor.

In America we have individual rights, including privacy from the intrusive eyes and ears of neighbors. Someone needs to go back to high school and read their Orwell.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:57 PM
Location: Buffalo, NY
11 posts, read 49,850 times
Reputation: 13
Default I'm happy you found an apartment, Valkyr47

If I were your landlord, though, I would have found out about the bounced check charge & I would have required payment by cashier's check/money order for at least the initial term of the lease. In the state of New York, asking whether someone has ever been convicted of a crime is perfectly legal.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:19 PM
48,522 posts, read 78,395,104 times
Reputation: 17894
You might want to go to the local police department and request a record check. many times misdeanors unless you were actually arrested do not show up on a record. If you wre never fingerprinted youy probabily have no record. Afterall a ticket is technioally a arrest and when you sign your are released on a promise to appear;don't sign and you go to jail and post bond.
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:14 PM
1 posts, read 23,128 times
Reputation: 10
i was denied an apartment because it asked if i was ever convicted of a felony, I put no and they
said I lied because I had a misdemeanor charge from 15 years ago. I told them that isnt what they asked but they said it didnt matter I was a criminal. I havent had any charges in well over 15 years so come on. Needless to say I didnt get the apartment. That was wrong, I paid for the app it seems they just wanted that or what I dont know.
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