While a criminal record does not automatically prevent someone from buying a house, it can complicate a process that is already difficult to navigate. Here are some of the ways that a criminal record may affect your ability to buy a house, and some information about what to do if you happen to find yourself in that situation.
Mortgage and Insurance
Two important things that you need when purchasing a house are a mortgage and insurance. Very few people can afford to buy a house in full outright, hence the need for a mortgage loan to pay off the value of your new home over time. Most banks and private mortgage lenders require a criminal background check before issuing a loan. Your mortgage application may be denied because of a criminal record. The risk of your application being denied is increased if your criminal record includes infractions of a financial nature, such as theft or fraud.
A home insurance policy is an agreement you make with an insurance company to cover the cost of repairs and replacements if your house should ever be damaged. A criminal record can make it difficult to get approval for an insurance policy, which many mortgage lenders require before issuing a loan. As such, a criminal record may not stop you from purchasing a home, but it significantly lowers your chances of being approved for both the mortgage and insurance that home owning generally requires.
Can a Criminal Record Affect My Ability To Rent?
A criminal record can also make it more difficult for you to rent property. Many landlords include a criminal record check (in addition to the typical credit check) in the screening process of potential tenants. If a landlord finds something on your criminal record, they may decide to reject your rental application. The risk of having your rental application denied depends on the judgement of the landlord and the relevancy of the infraction— again, infractions involving money or property are more likely to be a cause of concern for landlords.
What Can I Do?
If you are thinking about buying or renting property, but are concerned about how your criminal record may affect your chances, consider getting a Canadian Pardon (Record Suspension) for your criminal record. A Canadian Pardon will seal your criminal record from public visibility, therefore mortgage lenders, insurance companies and landlords will be unable to see your past offences when conducting a criminal record check.
Obtaining a Canadian Pardon can go a long way in helping someone with a criminal record re-integrate into society, and buying or renting property is a crucial step in that process.
There are certain requirements for receiving a Pardon, and some offences cannot be pardoned, which is why it is important to check your eligibility for a Canadian pardon before beginning the application process for a criminal record suspension.