Comment of the Day: The Neighborhood Vet

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE NEIGHBORHOOD VET “Since when are criminal background checks needed to rent an apartment. Ever heard of ‘paid your debt to society’? How are we to rehabilitate the formerly incarcerated if the only place you want them to live, is with other criminals? Be fair, and a little more forward thinking.” [Bill, commenting on The Apartments Taking the Place of the Houston Ballet on West Gray]

8 Comment

  • criminal background checks are not a *requirement*, but should be the *right* of a property owner that is about to hand over the keys to their place.

  • @Cody

    Here Here!!

  • Hear, hear!

  • I do not want my neighbors to rent out to an excon! I know some are rehabilitated, very good for them but my person safety comes first! So you sold some dope 20 years ago great but what about these freaks, the ones that make the headlines? Left a propane bomb in a mall, raped and killed little old lady 3 weeks after leaving halfway house, burned down another house….Prove to me and the rest of us then I will let you be, but I will be keeping and eye on you. as I do with most everyone anyway.

  • Bill,
    You need only ask your favorite tort attorney what happened to “paid your debt to society”. In case there isn’t one down the hall from you, I’ll explain. If I rent an apartment to an ex-con and that ex-con attacks, kills or robs someone on my property, I get sued. You might be surprised to hear that “he paid his debt to society” isn’t a winning argument in this case. Nor is it persuasive to my residents who choose to move out because of the crime on site.

  • Thank you Cody and Landman. Doing criminal background checks protect the owner and neighbors.

  • Thanks Landman and Ms Msry. I’ve always been 110% in favor of tenant screening at apartments. Recidivism is a very real thing. Is it fair to other tenants to move a dangerous ex-convict in next door, and cross our fingers?

    That said, I would hope that landlords can base the screening on what kind of crime someone committed. There’s a huge difference between a woman who has a single shoplifting offense from ten years ago on her record, and a career gang banger who just got out of jail from the last of a long series of crimes.

  • Civic Architect,
    Such a distinction can be made to a degree, but it is a fine line. The risk I run as a landlord is that someone who gets rejected for occupancy due to a conviction later sues me for discrimination, claiming he was rejected because he was a minority or some other protected class. To the extent I accept other residents with convictions, it compromises my ability to reject others with convictions. That is, the rejected applicant can say, “well, you allowed some ex cons to live here and not me…must be because I’m a minority”. For what it’s worth, a conviction for a violent crime is an automatic rejection at our and most other professionally managed properties.