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Can a criminal record prevent someone from renting a home?

Region: Ontario Answer # 2126

A criminal record can prevent someone from renting a home. In almost all cases, prospective tenants are required to complete a rental application before the landlord and tenant enter into a lease. Most rental applications include a question regarding whether the applicant has a criminal record. The application (or, in some cases, the lease itself), can sometimes give the landlord the right to make further enquiries about the applicant’s criminal record.

The landlord may require the applicant to provide a police records check. In other cases, the landlord, having received the applicant’s permission on the rental agreement, may submit the applicant’s name and date of birth to the local police for a records check. It is in the tenant’s best interest, therefore, to remove the criminal record before entering into such agreements. At the very least, it is prudent that these agreements are read carefully so that tenants are well aware of whether they have given consent for the landlord to conduct a police records check.

People who need to rent before their record is removed should be prepared for such a search. To prepare, tenants can:

  • make sure their deposit is refundable if the landlord decides not to rent to them,
  • prepare a letter explaining the incident that led to the criminal record and show remorse,
  • show that they have begun the process of having the record removed, such as obtaining a letter from their record removal company.

If you wish to enter into a rental agreement, it is best to have your criminal record removed before you submit the application.

For more information about residential and commercial tenancies, refer to our Landlord and Tenant section.

To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.


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