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Landlords Can No Longer Ban Tenants Based Solely on a Prior Criminal Record

As criminal defense lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida, we receive many calls from people who had a criminal case in their past and are suffering the effects of it many years later. They are finding it difficult to get a job or to get into school or even to rent an apartment. For these people, we can help by sealing or expunging their prior criminal charge, if they are eligible. However, the rules for sealing or expunging a criminal charge in Florida are fairly strict, and many people are not eligible. if you have a criminal record and want to know if you are eligible to have a prior criminal case sealed or expunged, feel free to call us with questions.

It is one thing to have to disclose a prior criminal record on an employment application (most people expect that), but a criminal record often comes up when someone is trying to rent a house or apartment. Prospective tenants do get rejected based on criminal records, even if the prior criminal charge was minor and/or occurred many years ago. The federal government says this practice violates the law. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a statement indicating that is is illegal for landlords to reject a tenant applicant based solely on an arrest record or prior conviction(s). This practice violates fair housing laws when a landlord does not consider how serous the prior crime(s) is and whether the applicant will have a negative impact on other tenants. Obviously, people with minor criminal records and people who have not had any trouble with the law in many years are less likely to be a problem to other tenants. Those individuals should have their applications for housing properly considered just like anyone else without a criminal record. To deny the application for anyone with a criminal record violates fair housing laws.