Arrest & Conviction Inquiries

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  #1  
Old 06-28-13, 06:50 PM
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Arrest & Conviction Inquiries

On an application for Senior Housing, the Housing Authority is asking for arrest & conviction records, of the applicant. I was under the impression that only convictions were a legal query & arrests were off limits. They are also asking for traffic tickets in the last 3 years. I realize that the book answer maybe different than the real life answer.
 
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Old 06-29-13, 03:43 AM
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I agree. It sounds as if they can base their admission criteria on possible unsubstantiated arrests. That would be wrong. Just because you are arrested doesn't imply guilt. Convictions, maybe. Traffic tickets fall into two categories, moving and non-moving (parking). I'd hate to know I was denied housing that I was entitled to because my parking meter expired.
 
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Old 06-29-13, 03:54 AM
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I wonder if they are trying to weed out the dope dealers. Locally, they've been getting stricter on the gov't housing although as far as I know they are just concentrating on drug arrests and convictions.
 
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Old 06-29-13, 04:23 AM
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I'm not applying for welfare housing. They are nice senior complexes. Are there any lawyers here who have a definite answer?
 
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Old 07-01-13, 11:03 PM
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Pulpo I am not a lawyer but I am a landlord so I have done some extensive studying concerning various laws and evictions. I had to not as a matter of law but as a matter of importance to us since we had to go through an eviction process. It has been a while since I have read up on the subject so I just read a short article that I will give you a link to.

Before I tell you some of what was said in the article and my advice let me preface that advice by suggesting you go to a free legal clinic if you need legal advice as I can't give it to you nor can a practicing lawyer actually give you advice over the internet.

Basically what the article said and has been my practice too is to tread very lightly where it concerns criminal background checks. I do have a question in my application form that I haven't revised in years that asks have you ever been convicted of any crime and if so what are the circumstances and when did it happen?

Time as the article said matters and so do the circumstances. I also have thought the same thing and if that part wasn't filled out I never rejected anyone when I was taking applications. Of course with us it is different we only have one house to rent so I imagine if you leave it blank then your application will be rejected.

If they are good landlords and your conviction or convictions are long ago then the only thing they might be worried about is a bankruptcy. It really was the only thing we were really especially worried about as our previous tenant had been bankrupt. Here is the link to the article Use of Criminal Records When Screening Applicants - Fair Housing Q & A | Property Management | Multifamily | Real Estate Investing . Basically all states have about the same laws as where housing is concerned they have to pass the scrutiny of federal housing laws. Another thing that was said if an employer can't discriminate against you then neither can a landlord.

If you are rejected by the place make sure you seek legal counsel but be honest in your application or it could come back to haunt you if they find out you lied on your application and they accept you.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 03:44 AM
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The question on your application asked about convictions ONLY which is correct. The application that I have asks about arrests OR convictions. That is definitely wrong.

Anyway, I ran a background check on myself & there is nothing there. So I plan to answer NO.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 04:42 AM
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I agree Pulpo asking about arrests is wrong. Convictions yes but not arrests in my way of thinking. So you checked your own record apparently you thought you did something wrong and I am not asking. Just so you know anything done as a juvenile is usually sealed by the court. Traffic convictions for various traffic crimes are usually expunged by the court after a few years goes by.

What usually stays on your record is breaking and entering, armed Robbery, and assaults of any kind to any age of individual. So since you checked yourself and you found no problems then I agree answer no. What happened in the distant past is over with, you will always remember and so will others but you paid your price to society.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 04:55 AM
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To some, the distant past counts. Employers give "profiling" tests now. They aren't called that but that's what they are. A sample question is: True or False. A first time marijuana offender should be given a second chance. Most people would say yes but a Human Resources woman told me that they want to see No, as the answer. Another test asked about things in the eighth grade. That's certainly the distant past.

Thank God I'm close to retirement age. My thinking would prevent me from getting a decent job.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 05:15 AM
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I cant be certain but its as much a question as a statement to think over & check in to.
(My ignorance on how to ask these questions are about to show up)
Aren't there two different background checks as far as time? Most general employment background checks only go back ten years, but extensive background checks do not have a time limit..??
As well, a local background check covers mostly local stuff..?? There are state & federal (FBI) checks..??
Again, these are questions as well as statements.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 06:16 AM
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Background checks depend on databases. Some databases are free. Some are not & some are only available to law enforcement & other government agencies. Choicepoint & Accurint are two that are for government only, Choicepoint being the better of the two. Of course, I don't have a Choicepoint account, so I took a trial membership on something else. I also called one of two courts. The woman was very nice. She searched the records & found nothing which matched my search. So far, so good.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 04:33 PM
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Dixie to further answer your question the better background check companies you have to pay for. They can go back fairly far but will not open sealed records those as Pulpo has rightly stated are for law enforcement or even private detectives only and sometimes not even available then without a court order. You need connections to law enforcement if you are none of the above and want to know more. Most businesses and landlords too don't have that kind of connection and usually just pay a small fee every year to a subscription service. For bankruptcy cases when you want to find someone who has skipped town they are fine but for more detailed criminal background checks they just skim the surface.

We once had a work man who just came knocking on the door and only sprayed something on our roof to supposedly fix it. They had called us numerous times after we decided to cancel their check and then I did a reverse look up and a criminal background check that I paid for and found out they were wanted for numerous crimes. So it is hit or miss sometimes with those services but worth it. Pulpo what that human resource person said to you that she is doing is illegal at least according to my research.
 
  #12  
Old 07-02-13, 04:47 PM
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Thank you Hedgeclippers for that polite & informative post.
 
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