Is It a Good Idea to Rent to Tenants with Felony Records?
As a landlord, you probably have dealt with your fair share of tenant dilemmas. But have you ever come across an applicant with a felony record?
Should you even remotely consider renting to someone like that?
Doing so carries certain risks, such as a lack of recent credit and employment history to go on. But rejecting someone outright simply because of their past crimes can carry consequences for landlords, as well.
So before you decide, it’s important to understand the implications of both sides of this debate—both legally and personally—so you can make the best choice
Overview of Laws Regarding Renting to People With Felony Records
First things first: Is it even legal to decline a tenant with felony records?
Renting to individuals who have a criminal record is a topic that’s heavily debated throughout the United States. While landlords have the right to vet their potential renters, it’s essential to know the laws in place to ensure everyone has a fair chance to secure housing.
Michigan’s laws regarding renting to people with felony records are designed to balance the landlord’s right to choose their tenants with the need for ex-offenders to have access to housing.
For the City of Detroit specifically, landlords are only allowed to ask about a potential tenant’s criminal records after they decide that the tenant is eligible and provide a conditional lease agreement. This gives the potential tenant with a felony record the chance to make it through the screening process without being discriminated against, whether subconsciously or not.
So, as investors, vigilance continues beyond buying the right property. It’s a constant process from start to finish. Know the laws in your area to avoid any issues down the road.
Weighing Out the Pros and Cons
While it can be a tough call, there are both pros and cons to consider before making your final decision.
On the one hand, renting to someone with a felony record can give them a second chance and help them get back on their feet.
However, there is also the potential for increased liability, or safety concerns for other tenants in the building.
Ultimately, it’s up to you as the landlord to weigh the risks and benefits and make an informed decision that best suits your personal and financial goals.
Tips for Screening Potential Tenants with Felony Records
Finding responsible tenants who will take care of your property and pay rent on time is important. However, if a potential tenant has a felony record, you might feel hesitant about renting to them.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some tips you can use to help screen potential tenants. One key step is to conduct a thorough background check to get a clear understanding of their criminal history when you can.
Additionally, it’s important to communicate openly with the tenant and assess whether they’re trustworthy and responsible, based on their behavior and references. Take the chance to meet them in person to get a better feel of their personality. This will give you a clearer idea of whether they will be a good tenant for you.
By taking these precautions, you can reduce the risk of renting to a problematic tenant while still giving a deserving individual a chance to rebuild their life.
Understanding the Pros and Cons
Renting to an ex-felon is undoubtedly a challenging decision for landlords.
While there may be potential benefits to renting to such tenants, there are also some risks if these individuals have committed certain types of offenses.
Moreover, the process of screening applicants can be daunting and landlords must take extra caution, ensuring these tenants will be safe additions to their rental units. Additionally, you have to stay up-to-date on state guidelines and prioritize safety when making decisions on who to rent to.
Ultimately, each situation should be considered carefully—weighing both the risks and rewards—before signing a lease with any tenant.
Are you thinking of expanding your rental property investments in Metro Detroit? Contact us today and see what the city has to offer!