Do Apartments Run Background Checks?

Felons typically find that most things are challenging when they return to society.  These include finding a job as well as a place to live.

Much of society seems to turn its back on felons, and opportunities are not easily found.

Felons do have options for somewhere to live even though they may be limited.

Many felons look for an apartment, as their financial resources are limited.  So renting is a primary option.

This blog post will address whether apartments run background checks.

  • Apartment Application
  • Apartment Background Check?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
  • Recommended Action

Apartment Application

When renting an apartment, there is a variety of information required for an application.

It begins with basic contact information, including full name, and either a driver’s license or Social Security Number along with an email address.

A current address and typically five years of residence history are requested.

An apartment complex is looking for a tenant whose background has no evictions or negative rental history.

Work history is also part of the application.  It indicates whether the applicant has a steady source of income.  Those who have been employed in the same job for a length of time will demonstrate their stability and improve their chances of being approved.

It also shows the apartment complex how an applicant handles job responsibilities.

Usually, pay stubs for the past several months will be required for the application.

Looking at the amount of an applicant’s income gives the apartment complex the percentage of an applicant’s income that will be devoted to rent.  Typically, rent should not be more than 30 to 40% of one’s income.

An applicant is usually asked to provide a copy of a current utility bill. This will show part of the applicant’s history with a previous landlord.

Apartment Background Check?

Before renting an apartment, an applicant is required to give written permission for a tenant background check.

Most apartments run some type of background check.  They want to make a sound decision on tenants for the safety and security of the complex and its residents.

A credit check is usually the most important part of an apartment background check.

This will show whether there is financial stability and also how debts are handled.

An apartment complex tends to believe that anyone who is late on their bills will also be late on their rent.

A background check shows previous addresses of residence and a rental history. This will include whether an applicant has ever been evicted.

Another important part of the background check is looking at criminal history.

The criminal investigation part of the background check involves a search of criminal history files for any criminal activity.

A criminal background check will show all convictions and non-convictions, including cases dismissed or not prosecuted.

Convictions can be reported with no time limit while a non-conviction shows up for seven years.

Having their record expunged, will prevent a crime from showing up on a background check.

Some apartments may consider the following factors related to an offense:

  • Nature and seriousness of a crime
  • Time that has passed since the offense and the end of the sentence

Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?

Yes, a background check can be run on yourself.

Doing a background check on themselves before applying for an apartment will allow a felon to know exactly what will be discovered when the apartment complex does their review.

Don’t wait and take a chance on the results.  If there are any questions, they can contact an attorney.

There are different types of personal background checks that a felon can do on their own:

  • The court in which they were charged to provide records
  • A credit report will help determine how financially responsible an individual is
  • Driving records for any job involving driving, such as a truck driver
  • An educational report through the National Student Clearing House
  • Social media accounts

For someone wanting to do a more complete background check on themselves, the best option is to contact a company specializing in background checks.

By doing a personal background check, a felon can get a heads-up on what will be seen by the apartment and whether there are any errors that need to be corrected.

Recommended Action

Felons wanting to rent an apartment know it will take effort and persistence in finding one.

They should remember there are resources available showing housing opportunities in each state.

They can take the initiative and seek to have their record expunged.

Also, taking the time to run a background check on themselves will allow them to see what apartments view on their check.

These measures, along with support from family and friends, will give felons their best chance for success in finding an apartment.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know had an apartment run a background check?  What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.


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  • my fiance has been incarcerated for almost 11 years. he gets out on 11/1/20 on parole. I need help to find us a place that’ll accept his background. we really would like to move to Rio Rancho but Albuquerque is also an option. i have no clue where to begin PLEASE HELP US! he is a completely changed person his ready to be a productive member of society we just need any resources i have no record to i am new to this please. I can use resources as far as housing jobs or schooling. Any help would be much appreciate.

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