Rental Basics in Chicago>Question Details

Amanda, Renter in Chicago, IL

Criminal backgrounds and renting

Asked by Amanda, Chicago, IL Wed May 8, 2013

A friend of mine has a criminal background (non-violent), but has since found a steady job and has been wanting to get out of a unhealthy living environment. They are not sure how or where to begin searching for an apartment. Are there any agencies that can help, or apartment locating services? I know that many landlords run a credit and background check, but are there any that will rent under these circumstances?

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Apartment locating services do no approve or deny tenants. That is the decision of the property owner or real estate management company. Some of the bigger companies may employ a zero tolerance policy or they may go on a case by case basis. A private landlord is the best option here. Most do not do a background check. Try Craigslist or the Reader.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
Tom hit the nail on the head. Your friend's best bet is probably a private landlord - but, most agencies do not run criminal background checks - ultimately, it is up to the landlord to decide, but I would proceed as normal, and if you run into an issue, have a good explanation ready for the landlord.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 12, 2013
fair housing fair housing fair housing
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 11, 2013
I would just be upfront when looking. I dont know if there is any rental companies out there that do this, but it wouldnt hurt to ask for some if they do. Maybe a higher security deposit?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
Some do background checks, but most do not. THey usually look at the overall financial picture of the tenant. Sometimes a higher security deposit or 3-6mo rent upfront can help. Anything is negotiable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
Sometimes more $$$ upfront help convince a prospective landlord to reevaluate the application.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
Dear Amanda,

I have been doing leasing and sales for five years. If your friend has a past felony, about 75% of the property management companies run a criminal background check in my experience. From what I have seen that is an immediate rejection of the applicant. I had a client that had an incident when she was 22, she is now 47 has excellent credit and excellent job. She was denied.

Don’t fret we found her a private landlord and many of them do not ask for a criminal background check. They want to see good credit and income.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
He will be always protected by fair housing opportunity...hire a rent expert realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
The key is type of felon ....and if there are restrictions ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
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