If you’re like many people, you don’t want a prospective landlord to see that you have a criminal record – even if you’ve only been arrested but never charged with a crime (or even if you were charged, but you were never convicted). There’s a good reason many people are concerned about a prospective landlord seeing a criminal record, too; the record may influence the landlord to pass up your application.
What Happens When a Landlord Sees Your Criminal Record?
Landlords may be able to see criminal histories in Chicago and the surrounding communities, which means having something on your record could negatively affect your chance at finding a decent place to live.
Under 765 ILCS 705/3, landlords can perform criminal background checks. The law also says that a “landlord may refuse to lease the property or may refuse to allow the sublease if the criminal background check of the person contains any felony convictions or indicates that the person is a registered sex offender.”
Here’s where the problem comes in: In Illinois, you’re allowed to expunge arrests that never led to a conviction from your criminal record. You can expunge “not guilty” convictions, too, and some former members of the U.S. armed forces are allowed to expunge some types of felonies.
But you can’t typically expunge felony convictions from your record. That means you may need to look into criminal record sealing.
Criminal Record Sealing to Prevent Landlords From Accessing Your Criminal Records
If you have felonies on your records (or misdemeanors, for that matter), you may want to have them sealed. That way, prospective landlords won’t be able to see them or use them against you. (Even though the law says they can only deny you housing for felonies or for being a registered sex offender, that doesn’t mean some landlords don’t find “other reasons” to deny applications.)
Sealing is very similar to expungement. The end result is that the general public can’t see your criminal record – and that includes landlords. Some government officials (such as police and those working for the court system) may still be able to see your sealed records, and so can employers that use fingerprint-based background checks (such as the military and some healthcare facilities), but in general, landlords can’t see sealed records.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Expungement or Sealing?
If you’re tired of your criminal past coming back to bite you, we may be able to help. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below so we can talk about your case.
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