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Renting an Apartment? Your DUI Could Hurt

You’re looking to rent a new apartment or even a house for that matter. You’ve looked at several places and you have your security deposit ready. You’ve thought about the credit check, but have you put much thought into a background check? If a landlord decides to run a background check and he or she learns about your DUI, they could decide not to rent to you and this may be well within their legal rights.

Landlords can run your credit report and they can check your criminal history. They are not legally required to get your permission to run a background check on you, but they may ask you.

So, if you’re convicted of DUI and you end up looking for an apartment or house to rent, or even if you’re about to renew your lease, the DUI could cause housing problems if the landlord has an issue with it. Some landlords have an issue with DUI because they fear the renter will spend their money on booze instead of rent.


There are landlords with strict policies against renting to people with criminal records period. In fact, they may ask you if you have a criminal record before you apply and if you say “yes” their immediate response may be, “Well, don’t bother submitting an application.” If a landlord tells you not to apply because you have a criminal record, it could be discrimination.

If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, you can contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development. On the other hand, if a landlord runs a background check and they discover your DUI conviction (or another criminal conviction) and they refuse to rent to you because of your criminal history, the landlord must:

  • Give you oral, written or electronic notice of the adverse action.
  • Provide you the contact information for the company that supplied them with your report. Also, the notice provided by the landlord must advise you of your rights to correct any inaccurate information and your right to a free copy of your report within 60 days of the landlord’s decision.

Related: Can I Get My DUI Expunged?

A DUI conviction can affect housing, education, and employment rights for years to come. If you’re facing DUI charges in Orange County, contact our firm to be defended by a Board-Certified DUI defense specialist. All of our initial consultations are free.