As a Landlord or Estate Agent when you ask tenants to complete an application form there is usually a question regarding whether they have a criminal record of any kind.
The majority of the time the answer to this question will be no. However, what do you do when faced with a tenant who does have a criminal record?
What to Consider?
First things first, don’t panic and shut down the possibility of renting to the tenant completely if they were someone who you would happily consider before you had this information. You should first try and get some more information from the tenant. If they are eager to be accepted to rent the property, they should be happy to provide anything that you need.
You should consider asking the following questions:
What crime was committed? - Some crimes are more serious than others, so consider this before deciding
How many crimes were committed? - Was it just a one-off or are they a multiple offender?
How long ago was the conviction? - Time since the conviction can be a deal breaker. If it was in the last 12 months you may feel more reluctant than if it was 5 years ago.
Can they still pay rent? - Do they have a steady income which made them an attractive tenant before you knew about their criminal record
Is your property at risk? - Was the crime in relation to property such as arson or vandalism as this could impact your decision.
Extra Safety Net
If you don’t trust that your potential tenant is telling the truth you can ask them for a basic disclosure certificate which is easily applied for through the government website. This will show details of their criminal record and confirm whether or not they have been 100% honest with you.
If after this you are considering accepting the tenant but would still like a safety net for the rent it is perfectly reasonable to ask them to provide a Guarantor. Even if they don’t have any friends or family member that fit your criteria, they may be able to use a company Guarantor, such as Rent Guarantor, if this is something you as the Landlord/Estate Agent are willing to accept.
To conclude, renting to tenants with a criminal record is a process built on trust, good communication and complete openness. If a tenant declares that they have a criminal record try not to close the option of renting to them until you have all the facts. As long as the potential tenant cooperates and is willing to provide any documents or information you need to put you at ease then it could still work out. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for a Guarantor as you would with any other tenant and thanks to companies like Rent Guarantor those who don’t have a friend or family member they can ask also can have access to a viable Guarantor subject to an application process.