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Can You Be Evicted For Having A Felony?

Can You Be Evicted For Having A Felony? Having a felony on your record makes it difficult to get approved for rentals. But what happens if you receive a felony conviction when you’re already renting a place? And can you be evicted for having a felony you didn’t disclose?

Being evicted for having a felony is certainly possible. Ultimately, the likelihood of eviction depends on what your lease says, whether this is an undisclosed felony the landlord has recently discovered or a new conviction, and the eviction laws in your state. 

Can You Be Evicted For Having A Felony You Didn’t Disclose 2024?


Did you lie about your felony on the rental application or was the question never asked? If you lied your landlord may have grounds to evict you because you lied on your application. 

  1. Check your lease and a copy of your rental application. Is there a clause stating that providing false information on your application is grounds for eviction?
  2. Check the eviction law in your state/city to find out if making a material misrepresentation on your application is grounds for eviction in your area.

If your rental application includes wording like “applicant understands and agrees that any misrepresentation or omission is grounds for eviction” then hiding your felony could result in eviction even if your felony isn’t listed as a disqualifying offense on the landlord’s tenant screening policy.

If your rental application didn’t include that clause, check your state/city eviction law because the landlord could still have the right to evict you because you misled them.

What about rental applications that didn’t ask about criminal history? If your landlord didn’t ask about your criminal history or run a background check on you, then it’s unlikely they can evict you just because they recently discovered your existing felony.

Your existing felony could even be too old to be used against you. Check your state law to find out if there’s a time limit on the use of criminal history in housing decisions.

Also see: Can A Landlord Do A Walk-Through Without You?
Also see: Can You Be Denied Housing For Pending Charges?

Evictions Are A Legal Process


If your landlord discovers a previous felony and decides they want to evict you, as a first step they have to give you a notice to vacate with a move-out date.

Once you receive that notice, you should get professional advice from a tenant’s rights organization or an experienced eviction lawyer in your state. 

They’ll be able to evaluate your information and give you an expert opinion on whether you should comply with the notice to vacate or wait for a court to decide the matter. 

Note – moving out at this stage avoids getting an eviction recorded on your rental history. Having an eviction and a felony will make approval for future rentals even harder to get.

Once the move-out date has passed, the landlord will file eviction paperwork with the court and you’ll be notified of the hearing date. If you’re going to challenge the eviction, you must turn up to the hearing otherwise the judge will issue a default eviction order.

At the hearing, you’ll have the opportunity to say why you shouldn’t be evicted. The judge will look at the facts, including your payment history and behavior as a tenant before making a decision. 

Can A Landlord Evict You If You’re Convicted Of A Felony After You Move In?

housing moving

Again, you’ll need to look at your lease to find out what it says about criminal activity. Most leases will state that criminal activity at the rental property or criminal activity targeting other tenants is grounds for eviction.

Leases may also state that the property is a crime-free rental and any criminal activity is grounds for eviction. By signing your lease, you agreed to be bound by that clause.

If you receive a felony for criminal activity associated with your rental, your landlord will have just cause to evict you.

Your landlord may also have the right to evict you if you’re convicted of a felony and the conduct that led to the conviction is likely to cause harm to the landlord, their property, or other tenants. This may be stated explicitly in the lease agreement or it may be state law.

If the conduct surrounding the felony has no bearing on your conduct as a tenant or your ability to comply with your lease agreement, a landlord would have a much harder time convincing a judge to order your eviction.

The felony would also need to be a disqualifying offense listed on the landlord’s tenant acceptance policy. Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords can’t use blanket bans on felons.

Get legal advice to help you decide what to do next.

How Do Landlords Find Out About Existing Felonies?

writing book

Landlords will usually find out about previous felonies and any pending charges for felony offenses when they run a criminal background check as part of their tenant screening process.

If they failed to run a background check when you applied, or the background check missed your felony, an existing felony could come to light if the landlord is having problems with you and decides to look for more information about you to support an eviction case.

Maybe they’re having to chase you for rent every month, or other tenants are complaining about you or reporting suspicious activity.

A landlord can’t use a background checking agency to run a background check without your consent but they can google your name and see what comes up. Another tenant could even look for information about you and inform the landlord about your felony.

How Do Landlords Find Out About New Convictions?


The most common way for landlords to find out about new convictions is through the probation service.

If you were sentenced to a period of probation, your probation officer may call your landlord or visit the property. They’ll confirm you live there, and they’ll make unannounced visits to check you’re complying with your probation conditions.

Your conviction could also be discovered after a report on the local news or through social media chatter.

Another way your felony could be discovered is when your lease is up for renewal. If your landlord runs a new background check, they’ll find the felony. If the felony is a disqualifying offense listed on the tenant acceptance policy, they have the right to decline your lease renewal. 

Next Steps

If you’re facing eviction always get professional advice. With help from an expert, you may be able to fight the eviction and win. 

When you’ve got a felony make it your priority to be a model tenant. Pay your rent on time, don’t move in anyone not listed on the lease, and be a considerate neighbor. 

Landlords don’t go around looking for reasons to evict good tenants, and having a good record at your rental will be helpful if you need to fight the eviction in court.