In today’s leasing market, most apartments in most major cities conduct criminal background checks. This has evolved from being a sporadic activity among some apartments to an almost standard procedure for all apartments. When filling out an apartment rental application, one often encounters the question of whether they have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. One of the curious things to know is that many apartments do not actually conduct the criminal background check since most checks cost money. But they insert this question in the rental application as a formality. It is also interesting to note that many apartment complexes use the same standard application form which they most likely have downloaded or purchased from an apartment association or firm that deals with rental stationery.
There are a few reasons why apartment complexes conduct a criminal background check. One of the main reasons is for the safety of their other tenants. To digress a little, apartments are managed by outside management companies, not the owners themselves. The owners are not concerned with the day to day activities of the apartment. All they expect every month is a check from the management company.
The apartment management personnel is therefore hired by the management firm which itself has been hired by the apartment complex owner. This is an important point. If you are having problems getting approved for an apartment because of an issue with your criminal record, and you feel that the apartment management is not being understanding, bypass them and go directly to the management company that hired the apartment management. This form of escalation has granted many a door of approval where all else has failed. This is because as much as the apartment management state that they are fair, there is always an element of bias against applicants with a criminal background.
If you know you have a criminal record, it is always good practice to know what that record says. Is it a felony or a misdemeanor? What facts surrounding the case does the record give? Are those facts true? If you have a record, it is always good to draft an account of what happened in your own words and prepare yourself to present this draft whenever applying for an apartment. In many cases, when you arm yourself with a written explanation of the circumstances surrounding the case.