Can You Get an Apartment with a Class C Misdemeanor?

Overcoming obstacles in life can be challenging. Finding work and an apartment of your own may be difficult if you have a Class C misdemeanor on your record. 

In fact, even if you have a reliable source of income and are prepared to move out on your own, it could make a prospective landlord uncertain about renting to you. 

This is especially the case if you’re not transparent with your record. Ultimately, landlords prefer tenants with squeaky-clean records. 

However, that doesn’t mean you cannot get an apartment with a Class C misdemeanor. But first, let’s try to understand what a Class C misdemeanor stands for.

What is a Misdemeanor

Criminal activities are typically considered transgressions of statutes or written laws passed by municipal, state, or federal legislative bodies. 

A criminal statute often designates a certain offense as a felony or a misdemeanor. 

However, a crime’s consequences are typically considered when determining whether it is classified as a felony or misdemeanor. These include:

  • While a felony sentence is normally served in a federal or state prison, misdemeanor committers are incarcerated in county or city jails. 
  • Crimes for which the potential fine or imprisonment period is longer than that for a misdemeanor is considered a felony.
  • Any offense for which the potential fine is less than a set amount, and the term of imprisonment is less than a set duration (one year), is referred to as a misdemeanor.

What Classifies as a Class C Misdemeanor

The least serious misdemeanor charges are class C misdemeanors. These carry no jail time, and small or no penalties. 

Each jurisdiction has its own list of offenses under Class C misdemeanors and associated punishments.

Disorderly behavior, assault, or having a very small amount of illegal narcotics in your possession are a few instances of such offenses. 

These crimes are more serious than minor infractions and code violations like speeding, minor littering, jaywalking, or playing loud music, but they are less serious than other misdemeanors. 

People who commit misdemeanors are also liable to get fined, just like individuals who commit such small infractions. 

A Class C misdemeanor, however, can also result in a brief period of incarceration in some jurisdictions, unlike those offenses.

Repercussions of Class C Demeanors

Of course, people who have committed Class C misdemeanors don’t lose their civil rights. However, those who have committed more serious Class C offenses will experience certain social consequences. 

A Class C misdemeanor would remain on a person’s criminal record for at least a specific period after conviction.

And many employers require job candidates to pass criminal background checks. In some countries, it would be permanently recorded on the offender’s criminal record. 

Someone convicted of a Class C misdemeanor may be subject to various penalties or restrictions and may even lose their employment, as certain jobs may require a clear criminal record at all times.

How to Get an Apartment with a Class C Misdemeanor

One of the potential repercussions of a Class C misdemeanor is losing eligibility to get an apartment of your own. So, with that in mind, here are a few ways to get an apartment with a Class C misdemeanor:

Offer a Lump Sum Amount

If you have money saved up, consider paying a few months’ rent in advance, or providing a higher security deposit.

While there is no assurance that your landlord will agree, doing this can ease their concerns about possible property damage or late rent payments.

In fact, doing such a thing will show that you’re ready to move past your Class C misdemeanor charges and become a dependable tenant who pays on time. 

Ask for Assistance

Utilize any resources in your neighborhood that you may have access to. Look into local charities that assist ex-offenders in getting back on their feet.

For instance, the Northern California Service League in the San Francisco area provides post-release services that include a housing evaluation.

Every other state offers re-entry programs for ex-Class C offenders as well. 

A resource guide with housing options for ex-offenders is published by the Reentry Council of the City & County of San Francisco. You can always look into that. 

Show Your Willingness to Become a Success Story

When applying for an apartment with a Class C misdemeanor, don’t forget to bring the necessary documentation to prove your moral character. 

It would be best to show the landlord proof of your progress toward moving forward in life. Bring commendatory letters or references from your friends, family, employers, or volunteering organizations. 

These will help show your landlord that you’re a reliable individual with a proactive attitude about reintegrating into society.

Learn About What Landlords Hate to See

When applying for an apartment with any type of misdemeanor, let alone a Class C, try to look at things from a landlord’s perspective. 

There is no doubt that no landlord wants to deal with a tenant who has a misdemeanor charge and doesn’t pay rent on time. 

So, when looking for an apartment, it’s a good idea to keep the following in mind so you can guarantee your future landlord that you won’t ever:

  • Cause harm or worry to other apartment tenants
  • Break the terms of the apartment lease. These include property damage, illegal activities, etc.
  • Delay rent payments

Understand Your State’s Rules about Misdemeanors

Sometimes, knowing the rules can work out in your favor instead of being a stumbling block. For example, a background check may not display a conviction older than seven years, especially in California. 

If that’s the case with you, you don’t have to reveal your conviction to your landlord. This is because it probably won’t show up in your background check. Here, being honest will not yield the best results. 

Be Honest

The adage “honestly is the best policy” works wonders when looking for an apartment with a Class C misdemeanor. Nowadays, lying is difficult to get away with because of the internet and social media. 

In addition to a background check, a quick Google search may produce a wealth of information. 

Furthermore, providing misleading information on your apartment application could result in you being refused or instantly kicked out as a tenant.

Even if you manage to rent the apartment without the landlord learning about your criminal history, you risk being evicted. 

So, if you don’t want to get refused or leave your apartment suddenly, be honest about your Class C misdemeanor. 

Also read: How to Check Your Apartment Rental History

Avoid Property Management Organizations

Try looking for apartments privately owned by a single person instead of renting one managed by a property management organization.

When renting an apartment through a management company, these organizations will ask you to participate in extensive background checks and screening procedures. 

On the other hand, an individual owner might not have the resources to perform such deep background checks. 

However, when explaining your Class C misdemeanor to that particular landlord, ensure that you do it in person and provide supporting documents. 

If the landlord can tell that you are not who your record may otherwise indicate, your chances of getting a rental agreement will increase tenfold.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should hide your past from the landlord. Instead, look for a better scenario that works in your favor. 

This will allow you to speak more directly and openly about your misdemeanor so the landlord can understand your situation. 

Filing For Class C Misdemeanor Nondisclosure or Expunction

A petition, or request for expunction or nondisclosure, must be filed with the district court in the state where you were given the Class C misdemeanor citation. 

The court clerk can provide you with details about filing fees. After that, the clerk will set a hearing date, and you will appear before the judge.

However, we strongly suggest consulting an attorney before filing your petition or request because expunction and nondisclosure orders in your state are subject to complicated legal requirements. 

Your state’s Bar Association will provide free legal clinics, especially if you can fulfill specific financial requirements. 

You can find more details on the organization’s website or by contacting your local legal aid group or city representative. 

Does Your Class C Misdemeanor Qualify for an Expunction

Class C Misdemeanor sealing is a combination of nondisclosure and expunction. 

So, you must complete deferred adjudication probation to be eligible to have your Class C record expunged. Compared to “traditional probation,” this is not the same thing. 

You can file for an expunction when you complete a Class C deferred adjudication probation and haven’t been given a felony conviction within five years. 

However, after the deferred adjudication probation is finished, you must wait 180 days before submitting your petition or application for expunction.

Lastly, a Class C misdemeanor expunction application costs around one thousand dollars. However, that can vary depending on a few factors. 

These include the number of Class C misdemeanors and the time after you were cited. For example, if you have three Class C misdemeanors, you will probably have to pay three thousand dollars. 

So, hiring an attorney will help you understand these factors and learn whether you are eligible for an expunction.

Wrapping Up

According to a New York Times research, 90 percent of apartment owners perform background checks before giving a unit on rent. 

This is why the apartment application process can lead to unwanted stress, regardless of your Class C misdemeanor type. 

But, if you’re a person who hasn’t committed a serious misdemeanor, follow the tips mentioned above, and you will be on your way to getting the apartment of your dreams. 

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