Many landlords conduct background checks before they agree to rent houses, condos, or apartments to individuals. Some landlords search only for certain criminal offenses, such as drug-related offense, whereas others look for any type of criminal conviction. Whether it is a misdemeanor or felony conviction, landlords may refuse to rent to individuals with criminal records. However, landlords who have such policies must prove that they have a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for doing so. For instance, landlords may not refuse to rent to individuals with criminal records in a manner that is designed to exclude those individuals based on their race.
Furthermore, if you are convicted of sexually-based offense, you may be required to register as a sex offender. This mandatory registration has extensive collateral consequences, including some limits on where you can live. For individuals who are on probation, parole, or mandatory supervision for a sex offense, probation or parole officers may have to approve where you live. Restrictions on the location of your residence may also be part of your conditions of probation or parole. For example, if the victim of the sex offense was a minor, there also may be restrictions on you living in or visiting a residence that is within 500 feet of a child safety zone. These zones include schools, daycare facilities, parks, playgrounds, youth centers, and sports fields.
Additionally, law enforcement officials can and will notify neighbors within a certain neighborhood that you are now living in the area. This can lead to efforts by neighbors to drive you to move to another residence. Plus, neighborhood associations and landlords often make their own distinctions about restrictions on sex offenders. If landlords choose to refuse to rent to sex offenders, then they are within their rights to do so.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.