What you need to know:
- Property Managers and Landlords can refuse to rent based on criminal history
- This includes misdemeanors, as well as more serious crimes
- The solution is to expunge your record
- An expungement seals your record from public access
- An Expungement also gives you the right to legally deny it ever happened.
Most property managers and Landlords in Oklahoma perform background checks on prospective tenants
As you already know, apartment complexes (and landlords in general) screen potential tenants by conducting background checks into the tenant’s past criminal history. This is increasingly common.
According to research by the New York Times, nine out of ten landlords conduct criminal history background checks using digital software. As a person simply looking for a place to live, the application process to get an apartment can seem insurmountable.
With the application fees, the credit check, the extensive criminal background check, and just simply completing the application itself – listing everywhere you’ve lived for the last ten years, etc – these property managers have really taken the fun out of shopping for an apartment.
What types of crimes prevent you from getting an apartment in Oklahoma?
The most obvious red flags to a property manager are felony convictions. Those are usually an automatic denial. Which means that convicted felons have a very difficult time finding suitable housing, and should definitely seek expungement if they qualify.
But even individuals that have simple misdemeanors on their record are finding it more and more difficult to find rental property.
One reason is the high demand for rental housing right now in Oklahoma. Another reason is that technology has enabled the ordinary landlord to easily conduct background checks that in prior decades would have been more of a hassle.
Can Apartments in Oklahoma reject your for having misdemeanor convictions?
One of the most popular queries we see over and over is some variation of this question: “can my rental application be rejected because I have misdemeanors on my record?”
The answer, unfortunately, is, “Yes.” There is nothing illegal about a property manager or apartment complex denying tenancy to an applicant based on the applicant’s past criminal history. This would include seemingly minor criminal charges, including misdemeanors.
When we think of misdemeanor crimes, we think of lapses in judgment that occurred in our younger days, or perhaps embarrassing incidents at low points in our life.
Things like drunken escapades that led to destruction of property or public drunkenness, disturbing the peace and outraging public decency.
There are those misdemeanor crimes that could imply character flaws related to truth and veracity of one’s character, such as larceny and other theft crimes.
But the misdemeanor versions of those crimes involve smaller sums of money. And over the years of handling these types of matters for clients, there is always more to the story, which is often why those matters were filed as misdemeanors to begin with.
Nevertheless, misdemeanor crimes are still crimes, and Landlords are perfectly within their right to refuse to do business with individuals that have a criminal background, no matter how long ago their crimes occurred.
Expunge your criminal record and Landlords will not have access to your prior criminal charges
The solution to these problems is quite simple: expunge the record and never again will you have to answer questions about your past criminal history.
An expungement is a court order that seals your record from public access. By obtaining an expungement order, you gain your privacy back. An expungement order will direct the court clerk, the sheriff, the police station, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to seal those records shut.
The effective outcome of an expungement is that those records are erased, at least if you are a member of the public.
Another benefit of getting an expungement is the right to deny the charge ever happened, if asked about it or while completing paperwork such as a rental application. You no longer have to disclose it and then explain it away. Instead, you simple omit any reference to it altogether.
The next question to ask is, “How can I expunge my criminal record in Oklahoma?” And the simplest answer is, “Hire an expungement lawyer.”
Hire a Lawyer to expunge your record and you will no longer be rejected from renting an Apartment in Oklahoma
If you are needing to have your criminal record expunged, the best course of action you can take is to hire an expungement lawyer. Doing so basically guarantees that the expungement will be done correctly. And by correctly, we mean that all the case numbers, dates, and other relevant information will be included in the Order of Expungement, which is very important to ensure that all traces of your record are erased.
At our office, we have a process for all expungement cases that accomplishes several things. First, we prioritize making ourselves available to the client on their time, in a manner convenient to them, whether that be phone or video conference, purely online e-mail communication if they prefer, or in person consultations at our office.
Next, we obtain the relevant background information we need from the client. We then obtain a report from the OSBI, and then we proceed to file the Petition for Expungement.
After setting the matter for a hearing with the assigned judge and serving the District Attorney and all necessary law enforcement agencies, we then reach out to those same agencies and work toward getting an agreement on the expungement. This saves time and gets the matter done without having to argue in court.
Because of our systems and processes, we have been able to streamline the expungement process for our clients. Our clients never have to go to court, they sit back and allow us to handle everything. Sixty to ninety days later, our client’s records have been effectively erased, and they are able to go on about their lives and accomplish their goals.
If you would like to see if you qualify, and to get a price quote, simply complete this form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.