How Can a DUI Affect Your Apartment Applications?

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When you apply for an apartment, the apartment owner is going to follow up with a background check and a credit check to help them decide if you’re a trustworthy renter or not. If you have a DUI on your criminal record, the landlord will find out about it. A DUI could be a dealbreaker that will get you denied, or it might not be a big deal at all. It depends on the specific circumstances of the criminal conviction but also on the particular property owner who’s reviewing your application.

Details of the Conviction

A DUI charge can either be a felony or a misdemeanor, which is a lesser crime. “Repeat offenders are more likely to be charged with a felony, but a lot depends on where you live,” says a representative from Alcolock. “You’re also more likely to be charged with a felony DUI if you have a separate criminal record or if someone died because of your actions.”

A felony will look very bad on apartment applications and may make getting good quality housing difficult. The landlord wants to find tenants they can trust to behave and not cause any damage. Other convictions beyond the DUI on your record will make them more likely to deny your application. If enough time has passed since the DUI, however, they should be more likely to give you a chance.

Options for Dealing With It

If you have a DUI or other problematic charges on your criminal record, you should consider mentioning them early in your application process. By bringing it up in person, you get a chance to explain the circumstances around the crime and convince them that you have changed and won’t get in trouble again. There is no avoiding the background check. The landlord is bound to find out about the DUI eventually, and it’s better to discuss it in person than to let it be a hidden surprise later on. Show the property owner that you are an honest and respectful individual deserving of a second chance.

When the DUI is only a misdemeanor, you might be able to go to court to have it permanently removed, or expunged, from your official record. This depends on the particular state where you were convicted, but often, this only requires you to fill out some paperwork after several years of good behavior following a conviction. If you successfully expunge the misdemeanor from your record, it will no longer show up in background checks, and you won’t have a problem.

Put Your Best Self Out There

For the most part, however, there is nothing you can do to change your past. Your record is out of your hands, so it’s up to you to make the best of it. A landlord may be willing to overlook a criminal record if the rest of your application is spotless and impressive. They are looking for a responsible person with a good job who can pay rent on time. If you have excellent references and work history, that goes a long way. Keep trying and don’t let yourself get discouraged if your applications get denied now and then.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.