It’s certainly one of those questionable situations; you’ve found a tenant for a property that you just can’t seem to rent. There’s just one problem: they have a criminal record.
Before you start to run, pause for thought and ask yourself if the situation really as bad as their history might initially suggest. We have put together the following guide, which will mull over some of the key questions you need to ask yourself before you say ‘no’ to them.
Was the potential tenant actually convicted?
This is a key question to ask and before you go any further you need to check the public criminal records to see just how the tenant stands on this point.
There’s a big difference between an arrest record and a criminal record. If your potential tenant falls into the former, they haven’t been convicted of anything yet and you might ask if you should go along the route of “innocent until proven guilty”. Of course, if they have been convicted, it’s a different story. It’s at this point that more considerations need to enter the picture, which we will start to look at.
What was the offense they were convicted of?
From the perspective of the landlord, this is a key question to ask. If it’s a so-called minor offence, which perhaps didn’t involve finance, financial crimes or anything else that might impact them as a tenant, might there be an argument to ignore the record?
Of course, if violent crimes are listed, it’s a different story. You need to start questioning the character of the individual, and also if they are going to pose a risk to other tenants in the vicinity. If they are particularly notorious, it might even affect your reputation.
When did the offense occur?
This is another very important factor and the answer might impact the previous section. If a crime was committed decades ago, some landlords might decide to turn a blind eye to it. After all, the offence was committed a long time ago, and if no reoffending has occurred since it might be unfair to discount an individual based on this.
On the flip side of the coin, if the offence is fairly recent, further questions might be asked. This is when the severity of the crime really does need to be taken into account.
Does it put others at risk, or does it put your rent at risk?
If the crime has been a violent one, it would be fair to say that others might be at risk from the individual residing at one of your properties. It’s not just violent crimes which can pose a risk though. For example, ones of a financial nature can do the same; how do you know if the tenant is going to pay their rent consistently?
This is another reason why it is crucially important to consider all of the details when you do have a tenant with a criminal record applying for one of your properties.