Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor 2024?

Are you wondering, ‘Can you Be Denied Housing For A Misdemeanor?’ If yes, then you have stumbled upon the right article.

Securing housing can be challenging if you have a misdemeanor on your record. Both public housing authorities and private landlords conduct background checks that might reveal past misdemeanors.

While a misdemeanor doesn’t automatically disqualify you, factors like the nature of the crime, its severity, and how much time has passed are considered.

Understanding these factors can help you navigate the application process and present yourself as a responsible tenant despite your record.

In this article, we have shared everything you need to know about getting Housing a Misdemeanor.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor 2024?

Public housing authorities and private landlords have the right to deny housing applications based on a misdemeanor on one’s record.

Private landlords tend to have more discretion in their rental policies. Each application is reviewed properly to check the severity of the offense.

Landlords often consider the type and age of the misdemeanor, as well as the potential impact on the safety and well-being of the community.

On the other hand, Public housing authorities have stricter guidelines.

They must balance providing safe and secure living environments with the need to offer housing opportunities to those with criminal records.

Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor
Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor

Low-income Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program applications with misdemeanors may be subjected to comprehensive background screening to ensure community safety.

Each case is typically evaluated individually to provide a fair assessment. Despite these regulations, guidance on this issue has been updated.

For example, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance indicating that blanket policies denying housing based on criminal records may violate the Fair Housing Act.

However, housing can be denied for a misdemeanor in 2 scenarios explained below.

The Public Housing Authority will consider the nature and severity of the crime, as well as the offender’s age.

For instance, a recent violent crime committed will get your application rejected.

Additionally, the Public Housing Authority will take into account any mitigating factors in the applicant’s favor.

This includes actions like completing community service, attending rehabilitation programs, or providing strong character references.

However, the applicant must supply evidence to support these claims to be considered. If the evidence is not provided, the application may be rejected.

Reason You Will Be Denied Housing For Misdemeanor

Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor
Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor

The Public Housing Authority (PHA) can deny housing for a misdemeanor based on several factors to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

Here are the key reasons why an applicant might be denied housing due to a misdemeanor:

Nature and Severity of the Crime

The PHA will consider if the misdemeanor involved violence, threats, or harm to others. Crimes involving theft, vandalism, or illegal drug use are taken seriously and can lead to denial.

Non-violent misdemeanors are generally considered less severe, but recent offenses may still impact eligibility.

Frequency of Offenses

A pattern of repeated misdemeanors, even if non-violent, can indicate ongoing problematic behavior and may result in denial. Housing authorities look for a history of compliance and rehabilitation.

Impact on Community Safety

Misdemeanors that suggest a potential threat to the safety and security of other residents, such as harassment, stalking, or domestic violence, are strong grounds for denial.

The PHA aims to maintain a peaceful and safe living environment for all residents.

Damage to Property

Applicants with a history of causing significant property damage may be denied housing. This is to prevent future harm to public housing properties and ensure the development remains in good condition.

Recent Offenses

Misdemeanors committed within the last few years are more likely to result in denial compared to older offenses.

PHAs often have specific look-back periods, typically 3-5 years, during which recent criminal activity is scrutinized more heavily.

Mitigating Factors

While mitigating factors can be considered, applicants must provide evidence of rehabilitation, such as completion of community service, attending rehabilitation programs, or strong character references.

These factors can positively influence the decision but require substantial proof.

Different PHAs may have varying policies and thresholds for what constitutes a disqualifying misdemeanor.

Applicants are encouraged to review the specific guidelines of their local PHA and gather supporting documentation to strengthen their application.

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies: Understanding the Difference

A misdemeanor is a less serious crime compared to a felony. It typically includes offenses like vandalism, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct.

Misdemeanor punishments are lighter, often involving smaller fines, community service, or short jail sentences—usually less than a year.

On the other hand, a felony is a more serious offense. Crimes like murder, rape, and arson fall under felonies.

Felony convictions usually result in longer prison sentences, substantial fines, and potentially permanent loss of freedom.

The incarceration period for felonies is typically more than one year, and imprisonment usually takes place in state or federal prisons.

Misdemeanors and felonies differ significantly in severity and legal consequences. Both impact an individual’s criminal record.

However, it’s hard to get housing as a felon, but as a misdemeanor, you have higher chances of getting housing from both Public Housing Authorities PHAs and Private landlords.

Programs To Get Housing As a Misdemeanor

Several programs are available to assist individuals in securing housing, even if they have misdemeanors on their records.

These programs aim to provide affordable housing options and are often supported by federal, state, or local agencies. Here are some key programs:

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

Section 8 Programs
Section 8 Programs

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program provides rental subsidies that allow tenants to find private apartments.

Participants pay 30% to 40% of their monthly income towards rent. The remaining cost is covered by the Public Housing Authority (PHA) that administers these vouchers.

Public Housing

Public Housing
Public Housing

Public housing is affordable housing managed by local PHAs. These units are typically offered at rents that are well below the market rate, making them accessible to low-income families.

While misdemeanors can impact eligibility, each application is reviewed individually.

Continuum of Care (CoC)

The Continuum of Care program helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It provides supportive housing options and services to help individuals achieve stable housing.

This support extends to those with criminal records, including misdemeanors.

Non-Profit Organizations

Non-Profit Organizations
Non-Profit Organizations

Various non-profit organizations offer housing assistance to individuals with a history of misdemeanors.

They often provide a range of services, including transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and rental assistance programs.

HUD Multifamily Housing Programs


HUD’s multifamily housing programs offer rental housing to eligible low-income families and individuals.

Properties under this program have specific units set aside for those with low incomes, and availability can be influenced by criminal history.

State and Local Housing Programs

Many states and localities offer their own housing assistance programs. These programs may include rental assistance, low-interest loans for housing, or subsidized housing options, and they can vary significantly by region.

These programs provide crucial support to those in need and Denied Housing For Misdemeanor, helping them find and afford stable housing.

Getting Help With Your Housing Application For Misdemeanor

Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor
Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor

Navigating the housing application process can be challenging for those with a Denied Housing For A Misdemeanor. Obtaining assistance can make this process smoother and more effective.

Key steps for getting help:

  • Collect all relevant documents.
  • Request background report used in the decision.
  • Write to the appeals address if denied.
  • Seek assistance from specialized organizations.

First, it’s essential to gather all necessary documents. This includes any court records, evidence of rehabilitation, and character references. Having these ready can make your application more compelling.

Applicants should also request a copy of their background report used by the housing authority. This ensures transparency and allows them to address any discrepancies.

If denied housing for a Misdemeanor, individuals have the right to appeal the decision. Write to the appeals address provided in the rejection notice.

Ask for a meeting to present a fuller picture of your circumstances. Consider seeking help from organizations experienced in dealing with housing for those with criminal records.

They can provide guidance and possibly even legal assistance in challenging denials.

How Far Back Do Rental Background Checks Go?

Wondering if you can be denied housing for a Misdemeanor that happened like 10 to 20 years ago.

Well, no specific years are mentioned anywhere for how far back the background checks (look-back period) will be done for housing.

Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor
Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor

If you are looking for housing from a private landlord, they are free to do background checks as far as they want.

On the other hand, some states don’t allow background checks longer than 7 years, and other states allow a maximum of 10 years or no limit.

States with 7-year background check limits include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Washington

What Background Check Do Most Apartments Use?

Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor

Most apartments use comprehensive background checks to screen potential tenants. These background checks typically include several key components:

Credit History

This is a major part of the background check. Landlords review your credit report to assess your financial responsibility.

They look for a credit score of at least 600, along with your history of timely payments and overall credit usage.

A poor credit history can be a red flag, but landlords might also consider other factors, such as income and employment stability.

Criminal History

Landlords check for any criminal records to ensure the safety of other tenants. This includes looking at both recent and past offenses.

While you may not Denied Housing For A Misdemeanor, serious offenses like violent crimes, drug-related crimes, and sex offenses are particularly concerning and can lead to denial of your application.

However, landlords must follow fair housing laws and cannot have blanket bans; they must consider the nature and date of the offense.

Eviction History

Your rental history, including any evictions, is reviewed. An eviction record can be a significant deterrent for landlords.

They want to ensure that you have a history of paying rent on time and abiding by lease agreements.

If you have a history of evictions, it may be harder to secure an apartment without additional assurances, such as a cosigner.

If you were recently evicted and are looking for housing, check out our article on “Eviction friendly apartments.”

Employment and Income Verification

Landlords verify your employment history and current income to ensure you can afford the rent.

They typically look for consistent employment and may require proof that your monthly income is at least three times the rent.

Verification may include contacting your employer or reviewing pay stubs.

By conducting these checks, landlords aim to protect their property and ensure a safe and stable living environment for all tenants.

Can An Apartment Reject You For Misdemeanors?

Can An Apartment Reject You For Misdemeanors
Can You Be Denied Housing for a Misdemeanor

Yes, an apartment can reject you for misdemeanors. Landlords often consider an applicant’s criminal history, including misdemeanors, as part of the rental application process.

While misdemeanors are considered less severe than felonies, they can still influence a landlord’s decision.

Factors that may impact the decision include the nature of the misdemeanor, the time elapsed since the offense, and any evidence of rehabilitation.

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords cannot adopt a blanket policy of rejecting applicants solely based on their criminal record.

Each applicant’s criminal history must be individually assessed to determine the risk posed to the community and property.

FAQs Can You Be Denied Housing For A Misdemeanor?

Can a misdemeanor affect my application for public housing?

Yes, a misdemeanor can affect your application. Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) consider the nature and severity of the offense, as well as the time that has passed since the misdemeanor occurred. Recent and serious misdemeanors are more likely to result in denial.

Are all misdemeanors treated the same in housing applications?

No, not all misdemeanors are treated the same. Non-violent misdemeanors are generally considered less severe than violent ones. The specific details of the crime, such as its impact on community safety, play a significant role in the decision-making process.

How long do misdemeanors stay on my record for housing applications?

The look-back period for misdemeanors can vary by state and landlord. Some states limit background checks to the past seven years, while others allow up to ten years or have no specific limit at all. It depends on local laws and individual housing policies.

Can I be denied housing for a misdemeanor that happened over ten years ago?

It depends on the state and landlord’s policies. Some states and landlords may not consider misdemeanors older than seven to ten years, while others may have no time limit on how far back they check.

Will my misdemeanor be a problem if I have rehabilitated and shown good behavior since?

Mitigating factors, such as evidence of rehabilitation and good behavior, can positively influence the decision. Providing proof of completing community service, attending rehabilitation programs, or obtaining strong character references can help​