This series of articles explains what you need know about how your criminal arrest and record of prosecution can affect your ability to rent housing in Oklahoma.
Most Landlords and Apartment managers in Oklahoma conduct background checks before renting to new tenants.
Background checks are extremely common these days in the rental property market. In Oklahoma, it is very common for residential landlords and even some commercial landlords to conduct background checks before leasing property.
If you are a tenant looking for a place to live in Oklahoma, you have probably realized at this point that you will have to submit to a background check before leasing or taking possession of the apartment, house, or property you are seeking to rent.
Why do apartment managers require background checks?
The issues is simple supply and demand. There are an increasing number of people in Oklahoma looking to rent apartments (or houses), instead of purchasing a place to live. Part of this is driven by the increasing popularity of residents of other states looking to relocate in Oklahoma. With an increased amount of renters, there is a corresponding lower rate of available places to rent.
Many people, young professionals in particular, prefer the flexibility associated with renting an apartment, as it allows them to move dynamically through their career and not be tied to one location.
With the huge demand for available housing to rent, those that are in charge of renting these apartments and houses have a large selection of potential tenants available. Given the demand, it is not hard to find a tenant. Therefore, the landlords and property managers are in a position to be very selective, and to create additional criteria to weed out less desirable tenants.
Does having a past criminal record make you a bad tenant? Not necessarily. But these managers have not come up with a better way to make their selections, and they still heavily rely on the results of criminal history background checks when deciding to whom they will lease their property.
What types of crimes prevent your from renting an apartment in Oklahoma?
There is no unified criteria for landlords and apartment managers for determining what they will use to disqualify a potential tenant from renting. Standards very from landlord to landlord and from one apartment complex to another.
In general, most apartment complexes will not rent to individuals with felony convictions and past criminal history involving domestic violence as well as property damages.
Whether drug charges, such as marijuana possession, will disqualify a tenant seems to vary among professional landlords and property managers. Some have rules against recent drug charges, others ban tenants that have any type of drug conviction at all,
Because of the complexity of decades of drug laws that sometimes conflict and contradict each other, we see many odd and somewhat capricious outcomes. An example would be an apartment complex banning tenants with past marijuana convictions, even if the tenant currently has a medical marijuana card. This seems absurd, but it does happen, and it is legal in Oklahoma.
How far back on a person’s past criminal history can the Apartment Manager consider when screening a tenant?
There is no law prohibiting a landlord or property manager in Oklahoma from using really old charges or convictions as a basis for refusing to lease housing.
This means that if they can see it on a background report, they can use it as a reason to deny the tenant from leasing housing.
When apartments or landlords conduct background checks, the information they receive will come from the database maintained by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
If there are crimes on that OSBI RAP Sheet, or on the background check they received from a third party site, that are 3 decades old, the landlord or apartment manager could very well choose to deny housing based on that report. Whether they actually would is another story. But is it legal for them to do so? Absolutely.
So when you think about having, say, a few misdemeanors that are only a couple years old, your chances of getting denied increase due to the recency of the criminal charges.
Expunge your criminal record and prevent Apartments from denying your rental application in Oklahoma
If you are wanting to rent a nice place to live in Oklahoma, you should seek to expunge your criminal record and nullify the chances that a landlord or apartment manager will deny you housing.
An expungement is a process whereby you obtain a court order directing the OSBI and all law enforcement agencies to seal your record off from public access. A court ordered expungement also grants you the right to deny, under oath, that the criminal charges ever occurred. This would include omitting reference on a rental application for an apartment or rental house.
There are many benefits to expunging your criminal record, such as protecting your privacy, and improving efficiency in the application process for jobs, housing, and other professional licensing. If you need additional convincing as to why you should expunge your record, consider the time, effort, and emotional energy you will save.
How do you obtain an expungement? Hire an Oklahoma Expungement Lawyer!
Now that you know the solution to your problem, the next step is hiring an expungement lawyer to handle the process. An experienced expungement lawyer should be able to get your case expunged within a few months.
At our law office, we make the process as convenient as possible for our clients. In addition to traditional appointments at our law office in Oklahoma City, we also allow clients to hire us through our website, make payments online, and we offer video consultations, if requested.
However, we do not require any phone, video, or office consultation if the client prefers. We are able to get started immediately when clients complete this form on our site.
Here is how the process works: after we are retained, we file a civil action in the local district court where the client was charged. We then set the matter for a hearing before the assigned judge, and notify the district attorney, the OSBI, and any other law enforcement agency involved, such as Department of Corrections, Department of Safety, Highway Patrol, etc.
After notifying and serving these agencies with the Petition for Expungement, we immediately begin working with these offices to reach an agreement to have the expungement completed outside of court.
By working directly with these agencies, we complete expungements faster than usual, and we obtain the desired outcome without having to inconvenience our clients by making them come to court.
Contact Oklahoma Expungement Lawyer so you can pass rental application background checks
If you are wanting to expunge your record so that you will not have to make the rental application process any more challenging than it already is, you should contact our office right now by completing this form.