Finding affordable housing in California is hard. Finding a place to rent with a DUI conviction on your record makes it even harder. If you’re facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Orange County and you are not a homeowner, you may be wondering, “Will a DUI conviction bar me from renting a house or apartment?” We have three words for you: Yes, it can.
Housing and employment are the two main areas that criminal convictions impact for the worse. In fact, they are such huge problems, that it’s hard for most defendants to find a good place to live, or a good job after they’ve been convicted of a crime. Even the United States government is aware that defendants have great difficulty re-entering society because: 1) they have a hard time finding housing, and 2) it’s hard for them to get a job.
WHY WOULDN’T A LANDLORD RENT TO ME?
There are various reasons why a DUI conviction might be a red flag to a landlord or property manager. Here are some examples of the types of concerns that landlords have about people with DUI convictions:
- “He may be an alcoholic; therefore, he can stir up all kinds of trouble like domestic violence, shootings, sexual assaults, and disturbing the peace.”
- “She might blow all of her rent money on booze.”
- “He won’t be able to keep a job because he has a drinking problem. This will prevent him from paying his rent.”
- “She may run over one of the kids in the complex if she drinks and drives.”
- “He may be an alcoholic, and he may have a drug problem.”
- “If he’s a drunk, what else could he be up to?”
- “If he has firearms, he could get drunk and shoot somebody.”
- “If she’s an alcoholic, she could die of alcohol poisoning on my property.”
- “If he’s a drunk, how can I trust him to live here?”
- “What if he gets drunk and beats his wife or his kids?”
- “What if he can’t pay his rent and comes after me in a drunken rage when I try to collect?”
“But how would a landlord know if I have a DUI conviction? They don’t run background checks, or do they?” As a matter of fact, it is perfectly legal for landlords and property managers to run criminal background checks on applicants. It is also legal for a landlord to turn down an applicant after running his or her background check and discovering a criminal conviction, including a DUI conviction.