Finding an apartment or a place to live is hard enough, and with more and more landlords refusing to take on new tenants facing even pending charges, it is important to know what rights both you and your landlord have when the issue comes up. A domestic violence conviction can be incredibly damaging to one's reputation, and career potential, but it's easy to forget that it can affect where you live as well.
Crime Free Housing
Apartment and rental housing communities often require tenants and to adhere to strict community policies that are almost certain to contain language that prohibits tenants from committing crimes while renting. An example of this in another state is the Arizona Crime Free Lease Addendum. A simple internet search of "Seattle crime free lease" turns up a number of results. A common practice for landlords everywhere is to screen potential tenants for criminal records. An offense like domestic violence on your record could leave you out of a landlord's selection process, and without an apartment. There is specific legislation (RCW 59.18.257) on how a landlord can deny your request for housing, but the fact remains that if you have a criminal record, even if the conviction is over a simple misunderstanding, you can be denied.
While eviction is a civil case, conviction of a crime can present a landlord with cause to undergo an eviction suit. If the lease agreement with a crime free clause is breached you could be faced with potential eviction. It is, in most cases, your landlord's responsibility to inform you of any such clause. What a breach of lease agreement basically provides is the just cause you landlord would need to proceed with an eviction suit. Depending on the landlord, you could be breaking your agreement by being charged with a crime, while for others you may need to be convicted. These decisions are situational depending on what was signed when the lease began.
A restraining order, in essence, is a court order that prevents contact, interaction, and proximity between two parties. In domestic disputes, it is common practice for the defendant to have one of many variants of a restraining order issued against him or her by the court. Since couples's disputes can often occur in places where the two are living together, this can necessitate the partner being charged to seek a new place to stay while the charges are sorted out, or a new place to live altogether. It can be incredibly difficult to get a restraining order appealed, not to mention the difficulty of finding a new place to live with pending or recorded charges.
A domestic violence charge stemming from what may have been a one-time or small incident can have adverse, long lasting effects on nearly every aspect of your life. The best way to prevent any of these things from happening is to avoid conviction. If you are facing domestic violence charges contact Steve Karimi today at 206-621-8777.