More Applicant Rejections – Fun Friday Stories

Jail Bars and CuffsPart of the application process for our rental homes is a criminal background check.  Sometimes when I am pre-screening someone over the phone and mention that we do a criminal background check, there will be the “pause”.  This pause tells me that yes, there is something of note in their criminal history, and that the phone conversation will get more interesting.

Having a blip in your criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant, as the overall picture of what type of crime was committed, how long ago it was done, and the circumstances will all factor in to the rental decision.  A lot of times it is how the tenant discloses any problems that influences the decision.

Some applicants will straight up lie and say they have a clean history.  They are hoping that we do not actually run a background check and that they will be clear.  If it is found out you are lying on the application you will get denied, even if the problem was a minor infraction over a decade ago.  If you lie about the background check, it is assumed you are also lying about your rental history, income, or other relevant factor.

Other applications will try to downplay their background problems.  I once had an applicant, when told a criminal background check would be run, tell me that he did have a record but that it was for a small fight when he was 18 and young and stupid.  That didn’t sound completely unreasonable, so we proceeded to run his application.  It turned out that he had a felony assault charge and it was less than three years ago.  Not as good.

It would save everyone time if applicants were honest and straightforward at the beginning.  A criminal background check will reveal past issues, so being dishonest about your history or downplaying the situation will almost always get your application rejected.