How Does a Criminal Conviction Affect Your Future Housing Options?

A Chicago man and his ex-wife had just gone through a divorce, and she was refusing to pay her fair share for their children’s activities, as stated in the divorce decree. He decided to use her debit card and pin number to withdraw $1,500 from her account to pay for their child’s after-school tutoring.

His wife pressed charges against him, and he was sentenced to over a year in jail for credit card fraud. Like many people convicted of white-collar crimes in Illinois, he is now having a hard time getting his life back together. He was once a businessman with a home and stable job, and now, he cannot even find a place to live that accepts tenants with felony convictions.

Many Illinois Landlords Will Not Rent to Tenants with Felony Convictions

Nearly every landlord in Illinois will run a background check on potential tenants. When you have a felony conviction on your record, finding a place to live can be extremely challenging. Many rental applications ask if you have a felony conviction straight out. In other cases, the landlord will run a criminal background check and discover that you have a felony conviction.

While it is against the law to deny a tenant’s application based only on the tenant’s felony conviction, landlords know how to get around these laws. A smart landlord will not tell you that they denied your application because of your felony conviction. Instead, they might say that they are concerned that you are not financially prepared to make payments on time.

In addition, villages all around Chicagoland are adopting crime-free housing rules, requiring tenants to agree to being evicted if they are convicted of certain crimes or if their guests commit certain crimes on or near the rental property. While proponents of these rules feel they will keep their neighborhoods safer, opponents staunchly disagree. They do not want to be potentially evicted for the actions of others. No matter where they fall in the debate, however, renters will still have to sign these agreements in order to secure housing.

Landlords are Even Stricter During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Landlords will reject potential tenants convicted of sex crimes, violence, drugs, or some type of crime against a child. During these difficult economic times, landlords are more likely to deny tenants who they think may be dangerous or unable to pay. Currently, landlords are unable to evict tenants who are not paying their rent under federal and local laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landlords know that their ability to collect rent payments is limited, making them even more careful about which tenants they approve. Suppose you have any type of criminal record, and you are trying to move into an apartment or townhome during the COVID-19 crisis. In that case, you will likely have an even more difficult time than under a more normal situation.

You Need to Hire an Experienced Lawyer to Protect Your Ability to Obtain Housing

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, your future is on the line. Many people do not realize all of the different negative collateral effects of a criminal conviction in Illinois. If you are convicted, you could have a difficult time securing housing for yourself and your family for years. The sooner you hire an experienced Schaumburg criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court, the better. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation.

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