Criminal Charges and Convictions and Housing in North Carolina


The effects of a criminal case in North Carolina often stretch far beyond the courthouse. One of the areas that is most affected by a criminal case is housing. For many people in North Carolina, renting a residence is a necessity. When you are renting, a pending charge or a conviction can have long-standing effects on your ability not only to find housing but retain housing.

Criminal Convictions

One of the first things that many renters do is run a background check. These background checks are often simple snapshots of one’s criminal record. The main convictions that most rental companies and landlords look for are any conviction that is assault based in nature or what the court system considers a crime of violence. Other convictions that can often result in issues with obtaining housing are felony convictions. It is important to know that while Fair Housing Guidance from the federal government does state that it may be illegal to deny housing based on a criminal record, rental companies, and landlords can deny housing to someone whose recent criminal record makes them a danger or risk to other tenants or neighbors.

Pending or New Criminal Charges

Another common situation that comes up in criminal cases is when you are charged with a crime and your landlord moves to terminate your lease and evict you. Based on the same principles as above, if the pending charge makes you a danger or risk to your neighbors or to other tenants, this eviction can take place under the normal eviction procedures. Another way that landlords get away with terminating the lease is that a condition of the lease is often to not commit new criminal or domestic violence offenses.

It is important to know that while these evictions may be based on criminal cases that are eventually dismissed, they will stay on your record the same as any other eviction. If you have a criminal case and are a renter, it is important to let your attorney know as soon as possible and to keep them appraised of any correspondence from your landlord, as there may be steps that can be taken to avoid having the negative consequences of an eviction follow you long after your criminal case is done.

An important tool in the legal system that can help you if you find yourself in these kinds of positions is the expungement. Expunging your record can remove any case for which you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed, and can even remove some convictions from your record after a period of time. The expungement would allow you to correctly claim a clean record, which could be helpful in securing a rental property.

If you or someone you know is facing either of these situations or needs an expungement of a prior criminal case, call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.