It is now common knowledge that in addition to credit checks, most apartments will conduct routine background checks on prospective tenants before determining whether to issue approval. This is done regardless of income or job history and can be quite frustrating for applicants with minor criminal convictions. Here are few frequently asked questions when regarding renting or being approved for an apartment, rental home, town home or condo in Baton Rouge if you have a criminal record.

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What do apartments look for when they conduct background checks?

There is no way of providing a concise answer that fits all scenarios but in most cases, apartments are looking for felony convictions involving sex, drugs and domestic violence. Some apartments will also pull up misdemeanors.

Can a felony mean an automat denial?

Not necessarily. Some apartments will review felonies on a case by case basis. Not all apartments are the same and different communities have different approval requirements. When it comes to a felony, some apartments will also want to know what the conviction was about, how serious it was, how long ago the offense took place and whether you have any similar cases or occurrences pending. Since different apartments are owned by different management companies, they may also have different criteria with some having a zero tolerance for any kind of criminal conviction.

I was convicted of a sexually-related offense but it was misdemeanor

Again, no one size fits all. Some apartments will reconsider and evaluate the actual circumstances surrounding the criminal offense. For instance, a conviction for indecent exposure may have been because you wore the wrong attire at a beach or community swimming pool, or for public urination where someone saw you. It can even be issued because a mother breastfed her baby and a passer-by saw her. These are pretty minor convictions that many apartment complexes overlook and issue approval although in some cases an applicant may be denied.

What felonies are considered the most serious for apartment rental purposes?

While different apartments have different requirements (all within the law of course), it is common knowledge that there are some offenses that are considered more serious than others. These include but not limited to: sexual assault, battery, domestic violence, rape, drug dealing, armed robber and murder. Again, apartments use their discretion when approving felony applicants. Some apartments will approve a felony applicant if the offense was committed over 5 years ago.

What else can I do if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record is not the end of the world if you have changed your life. It is possible to pick up the pierces and rebound. If you have a felony or a serious misdemeanor, and are looking for an apartment, town home, condo or rental home, you can start by looking on sites such as Craigslist, OLX, Backpage and Kijiji to see if anyone is leasing theirs. These could be privately-owned apartments where the landlord is more concerned with your job and income than your credit and background. This is an excellent way of getting an apartment if you have a serious background issue.


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