How A Criminal Record can Affect the Purchase and Leasing of Property - PropertyBlawg

How A Criminal Record can Affect the Purchase and Leasing of Property

by Molly P. on January 15, 2013

(Laws relevant to purchasing or leasing a property in the US). Many people may not have thought about it, but a criminal record of any type can have very long lasting and negative affects. When it comes to money, most people in today’s society are all business. As a result, many business owners, such as a landlord or bank employee, may not even take the time to consider someone with a record. This right they have to obtain criminal and credit record information of applicants allows for a degree of discrimination that is commonplace but hard to prove in a court of law.
Rental ApplicationsMost all rental applications include a background check process. It has become so customary in so many states that tenants are charged a “rental application fee.” This is mostly to cover costs for running a credit report and background check. The fact is that with the laws leaning toward tenant rights, more landlords are reluctant to take a chance on a person with any sort or criminal record. This would hold particularly true for any type of felony conviction – and especially for a violent crime or physical harm.The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that landlords denying leases based upon information in an applicant’s consumer report provide them with adverse action notices.

However, it would be up to the prospective tenant to try to prove that they were denied a lease based upon information in a credit or background check. It would be very easy for a landlord to simply say that another tenant outbid the one he would prefer not to deal with.

While it may be tempting, any untruth on a lease application could be found about later. Signing the application and lease agreement makes one subject to perjury if it is found that incorrect information exists. It is unlikely that any charges would be filed, however, information may be added to a person’s background later. Providing false information is also grounds for eviction.

Purchasing Property

Credit rating agencies are allowed to legally include criminal records when figuring credit scores, but usually do not. However, there is a possibility that some may have begun to include this information due to the high level of fraud that has been perpetrated.

The worst way that a criminal record can affect the purchase of property is due to the fact that large or even slightly risky loans can prompt a lender to delve deeper into an applicant’s past. Should a criminal record be exposed, this can negate any chance of obtaining the loan. Business loans generally require that borrowers have demonstrated to have good character, which means a clean criminal record. Loan officers may use misdemeanor charges to deny credit. Because these charges remain on a person’s record for life, it is more than certain that it would be impossible to obtain many different types of loans.

Criminal Record Consequences

Regardless of the type or reason for a criminal record, not many business people are very forgiving when it comes to this. The reason is that many people who have a record have already demonstrated a level of irresponsibility. This causes companies to become reluctant to do business with people who have a criminal past.

The ways that certain charges – particularly felonies can negatively effect a person’s life are too far reaching to cover completely. A criminal record can affect everything from jobs to bank accounts, property rentals and purchases to loans of any kind. This is why it is so important to protect your reputation by refraining from any activity that could conceivably get you into trouble in the first place and should legal charges arise to obtain knowledgeable and experienced representation. According to attorney Steven E. Kellis of the Pennsylvania-based Kellis Law Firm, “an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the system and has a track record of success can make all the difference”.

If it happens to be that you have unfortunately already acquired a criminal record, do some internet research and consult with a competent lawyer as soon as possible to get ideas on how to handle various situations that may arise. In some instances, it is possible to get records or specific charges expunged or obtain first offenders status after-the-fact. Since this can be a timely and costly process, it’s far better to keep your record clean and free of criminal charges.

Writer and free-lance artist Molly Pearce is also a mother of two hoping to own a home in the near future. An attorney with experience can be a great asset to have when dealing with criminal record issues and major life decisions, like leasing or purchasing property. Criminal defense lawyer Steven E. Kellis, of the Pennsylvania-based Kellis Law Firm, has over 20 years of jury trial experience and has 5 years of experience as a PA DUI Prosecutor and Senior Assistant District Attorney.

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