Renting with a criminal record in California

Have A Criminal Record And Want To Rent In California?

Landlords are very discerning in deciding who they allow to rent or lease a property. Rarely do you find a landlord that will happily lease an apartment to someone with a conviction on their record.  Think about it, if you were a landlord, wouldn’t you want to lease your apartment or home to someone who was squeaky clean and preferably without a criminal background?

One of the main reasons that our clients contact us is that they want to find a place to live but they have a criminal past and are worried about losing a potential lease.  This is a valid concern and one of the main reasons that people try to clear their criminal past.  On a typical rental application, a landlord will most likely ask if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense.  If you answer “yes” then you may have a much harder time getting that apartment or home to rent.

Luckily there are ways to increase your chances of leasing an apartment or a home in California if you have a criminal record.

Get an expungement of your California criminal record! 

California offers a way for those who were convicted of a crime but did not go to prison to expunge their criminal records.  If you were convicted of a felony, you may be able to reduce it to a misdemeanor. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you’ll (in most cases) be able to expunge that criminal record.  A California expungement, once successfully obtained, allows you to truthfully say that you were not convicted of the crime in question.  Side note: you can only get an expungement of your California record if you didn’t serve time in state prison for that offense.

“But wait – I went to state prison in California…are there no options for me?”

Even if you went to California state prison you may be able to obtain what’s known as a Certificate of Rehabilitation.   A Certificate of Rehabilitation is valuable because it’s an official endorsement from the courts that you are rehabilitated, your criminal history is behind you, and you’re a positive member of society.  This will usually make things like leasing an apartment much easier.

Convincing a court to grant you an expungement or a Certificate of Rehabilitation can be tricky and at times confusing, so it’s best to contact a California expungement attorney that focuses on record clearing services.  Feel free to take our FREE and confidential eligibility test to see if you’re eligible for a CA expungement or Certificate of Rehabilitation!

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