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Criminal history and landlord rental decisions: a New York quasi-experimental study

September 2014 New York:


Determine the effect of a criminal conviction on landlord decisions to consider prospective tenants and the extent to which landlord responses vary based on prospective tenant’s offense type.

Using a quasi-experimental audit design, matched pairs of “testers” posing as prospective tenants called landlords across New York State to inquire about the possibility of renting a residence. Criminal conviction type was manipulated amongst equally eligible testers posing as non-offenders (control group) or as having one of three types of prior conviction: child molestation, statutory rape, or drug trafficking (quasi-experimental groups).

Analyses indicate that landlords are significantly less willing to consider prospective tenants with a criminal conviction, particularly when the conviction is for child molestation, although this effect was more strongly apparent with male testers.

The stigma associated with a child molestation conviction greatly impacts housing outcomes, but landlord characteristics and the sex of prospective tenants influence landlord decisions. This study has important implications for offender reentry and policies that should address this issue. ..Source.. by Douglas N. Evans,
Jeremy R. Porter

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