Tenant History Report: Can You Deny Someone With a Criminal Record in Chicago

Tenant History Report: Can You Deny Someone With a Criminal Record in Chicago

Choosing the right tenants for your rental property is essential for your peace of mind. Part of this is making sure that potential tenants do not have a bad criminal history.

Unfortunately, there are over 80 million Americans who have some sort of criminal record.

A tenant history report can help you verify whether or not a potential applicant has one. Can you deny someone's application if they have a criminal record in Chicago?

This guide breaks it down.

Time of the Crime

In Cook County, one of the biggest factors with rental property and criminal records is how long ago the time took place. Cook County law dictates that landlords are not allowed to deny rental applications based on crimes that took place more than three years ago.

So, timing is crucial if you discover that a potential tenant has a criminal record. You have little choice but to ignore most crimes that took place more than three years ago. However, if the crime was within the last three years, you can take further action.

Individualized Assessment

If you discover a crime that took place less than three years ago, you can perform an individualized assessment for it. This allows you to review all of the factors related to said crime. You can take all of these factors into consideration and then decide from there whether or not you want to deny the application.

What factors do you need to consider? For starters, the specific crime and when it occurred should be taken into account. Then, you should consider how long of a jail sentence someone may have had for this.

How long ago did this crime take place? How old was the applicant when they committed this crime? Do they have any sort of disability that caused this crime to take place?

Getting the answers to these questions can allow you to make a more informed decision for a specific applicant.


Another thing that you need to keep in mind is if the tenant has attempted any sort of rehabilitation since this time took place. If they have, it can be a positive sign that they are trying to change their behavior since they committed that crime.

An example can be finding another legitimate job if they got fired from their last one because of a crime they committed. You can also consider things such as someone furthering their education, taking part in behavioral programs, or even just having positive references.

Review the Tenant History Report

A tenant history report can help give you an idea of what type of criminal history a potential tenant has. Just remember that you can only consider certain crimes and you have to take certain factors around those crimes into account.

If you need help identifying all of this, you can speak to PMI Windy City. We are a local property management franchise that is part of one of the largest franchises of its kind in America. For more than 20 years, this franchise has been helping property owners like you with tenant issues.

Message us here today.