Renter's application disqualifications

Question? I live in the state of Ohio and was wondering about certain disqualifications for possible tenants. Is it illegal to ask on an application about Felony convictions and drug offenses. I am going to add this question on my rental applaications but want clarification first. Is it against policy to deny someone based on any drug type arrests or even if they’ve been charged, as well as certain Felony charges or convictions they may have on their record. Thanks!

SumnerInvest, LLC

You can ask anything you want on yor application as long as it doesn’t force a person to reveal race, religion, or family situation (i.e. pregnancy).

I’d be much more concerned about how he paid his bills and his character than if he smoked pot.

Da Wiz

Sumner- I’d be very concerned about drug charges. I’m not a lawyer but I believe you can be held liable if there’s any inclination that you knew of drug use or dealings in your property. Do a full blown background investigation on your tenant. The SWAT team kicking down the door and raiding a crack house can’t be good for business. I also can’t imagine a drug addict/ dealer taking good care of your property.

<<I’d be much more concerned about how he paid his bills and his character than if he smoked pot.>>

Duh…Smoking pot IS his character!



It is legal and advisable in Ohio to ask about arrests. It is absolutely foolish to believe ANYTHING that the applicant puts on the application - even their name. I check their driver’s license to see if it is really them and copy down their SS# and DL#. I do a criminal background check and credit check on all applicants (and of course charge them for it). We do not accept tenants who have ANY felonies within the past 5 years OR more than 2 misdemeanors in the past 5 years OR more than one civil lawsuit as plaintiff in the past 5 years OR anyone who has had their utilities shut off within the past year OR who have been evicted within the past 5 years or anyone who looks like a hoodlum (I have a whole list of criteria for that too). Even taking only tenants who meet all these criteria, you’ll still have your fair share of losers, liars, and scumbags to evict.

Due to the low interest rates over the past few years, everyone who can fog a mirror owns a house. What’s left is mostly the losers, drunks, drug addicts, thieves, criminals, and general scumbags. It is VERY ugly out there. The good news is that interest rates are rising and many of those people who should never have bought a house will soon be renters again.

Good Luck,

Mike (Ohio)

Thanks Mike for the info. I do have several rentals, but they have been in very good neighborhoods and I’v never had a problem. I bought a 5 family in a not so good area and want to change my Renter’s Application for this property to include criminal arrests / convictions and so forth. Could it be possible to get a copy of your renter’s application to use as a template? Thanks.

SumnerInvest, LLC


Then you would refuse to rent to: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Newt Gingrich, George Bush, Mayor Bloomberg, and millions more including:

Da Wiz

I believe that you’ll find that marijuana was not illegal (federally) until 1937, so that negates George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson (and maybe Willie Nelson - LOL)…so, it wouldn’t necessarily negate them in that they committed no legal offense (which is what the original question was about). The fact that they are DEAD would negate them as potential renters for me!

Funny, you left off all of the left-wing politicians – I guess it’s a foregone conclusion that they’re stoners…?

As for the others, if it was a provable fact, it would negate them as renters for me. It points to a pattern of irresponsibility.

Please try not to put words in my mouth if you can at all help it!

You’re a little disagreeable today – are you OK? Did you attend some sort of political rally this weekend?


As a matter of fact, I’m in a great mood and was just playing with you. Here’s a question: Would you rent to someone who was on a medical marijuana maintenance program in a state where that was legal? Aren’t these questions fun?

Da Wiz

<<Here’s a question: Would you rent to someone who was on a medical marijuana maintenance program in a state where that was legal? >>

Yes, as long as he could provide his physician’s prescription. It is then no longer illegal drug activity.


That as a little funny. IMO, I would note rent to a weed smoker. Not because it is illegal, but because I have seen what it can do to a person with chronic use. I personally don’t base my opinion of a person’s character or whether they have broken any laws, to do that would be to kind of say the laws and lawmakers are omnipotent, and are applied perfectly. I don’t believe that because some laws are just plain stupid to me, while that same law to another person is what the world hindges on. So I don’t care that a law what broken, I care more about WHAT law was broken.