Friday, 25 September 2015
Housing Issues with a Criminal Record
When you have unspent criminal convictions, it can be hard to find housing and things like criminal convictions insurance when you have a place to live. There are a number of reasons for this but, unfortunately, many of them may not be considered fair or reasonable. Though many insurers will refuse to even offer you a quote once you reveal your unspent convictions, homeprotect is different.
We can offer you convictions insurance to protect your home, no matter what your circumstances
When it comes to local authority or council housing, you might find that there are policies preventing you from joining a waiting list when you have unspent criminal convictions. Such policies might be seen as discriminatory, but so far there is little research available to determine how prevalent the problem may be. The National Association for Reformed Offenders (UNLOCK) indicates that though they have heard a number of complaints to this effect, it is hard to establish how many others may be barred from the waiting lists because of their previous offences.
The private sector
In the private sector it is quite common for landlords and letting agencies to ask you to disclose details about your criminal record, and they may refuse to rent to you based on this information. Though there are landlords dedicated to offering accommodation specifically for former offenders, they are far from being in the majority. Often when you disclose unspent convictions to a potential landlord it will result in you being refused a rental opportunity, even in cases where the convictions are neither relevant nor pertinent to the situation.
There have been several instances where concerns have been raised about how police forces might be arranging to share criminal record data with local authorities and housing associations. Where this is taking place it might be said that the rights afforded to ex-offenders under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 are being circumvented in contravention of data protection legislation. If you are concerned about how your record data might be being handled, you may wish to seek further information from www.unlock.org.uk
Though your duty to disclose unspent convictions may be unclear in many situations, when obtaining criminal insurance cover the duty is very clear (though the ROA 1974 is renowned for its complexity); you are required to disclose all "material facts" when applying for any type of insurance, and an unspent conviction is considered a material fact. If you or anyone living in your home has an unspent criminal conviction under the ROA 1974 then you need to disclose it to your convictions insurance provider, even if they do not ask you about it during the application procedure.
If you were not asked about your convictions in the course of completing an application however, and you have subsequently had your insurance refused or cancelled as a result of them coming to light, then you may have grounds for appeal. You are not required to disclose any spent convictions under the ROA 1974 to an insurer, even if asked about them directly. With HomeProtect, you can obtain a competitive online quote for criminal convictions insurance even if you have unspent convictions.