Can Felons Get a Real Estate License – 2024 Updated – All 50 states!

Judge's,Gavel,In,Hand.,Judge,Passes,Sentence.,Lawyer,And,Court.Real estate is a good career for those that are starting over. People with a criminal record may consider taking a course so they can begin a new career path. They will not need any qualifications to embark on this leg of their professional journey.

But they may face challenges when seeking approval for their real estate license. The process typically entails running a background check. If a criminal history is discovered, the individual may be disqualified.

But not all hope is lost. The qualifications for getting a real estate license will vary from state to state. Most states will allow criminals to get their license if certain circumstances apply.

This article will do a state-by-state review, so you know what to expect in your area.

Select Your State To See The Guidelines: 

AlabamaKentuckyOhio
AlaskaMaineOklahoma
ArizonaMarylandOregon
ArkansasMassachusettsPennsylvania
CaliforniaMichiganRhode Island
ColoradoMinnesotaSouth Carolina
ConnecticutMississippiSouth Dakota
DelawareMissouriTennessee
FloridaMontanaTexas
GeorgiaNebraskaUtah
Hawaii NevadaVermont
IdahoNew HampshireVirginia
IllinoisNew JerseyWashington
IndianaNew MexicoWest Virginia
IowaNew YorkWisconsin
KansasNorth CarolinaWyoming
LouisianaNorth Dakota

 

Alabamaalabama

Alabama law states that those convicted of a crime that involves moral turpitude will be disqualified from a real estate license. This refers to an “act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community”.

 

Alaskaalaska

You will be unable to get a real estate license in Alaska if you were convicted of a felony. You may also get disqualified for committing a crime that prevents you from competently practicing real estate such as forgery, conspiracy to defraud creditors, extortion, or theft.

 

Arizonaarizona department of real estate logo

Being convicted of a felony or even a misdemeanor may prevent you from getting an Arizona real estate license. You may be disqualified if you have ever been found guilty of theft, forgery, extortion, violence against another person, conspiracy to defraud, and crimes of moral turpitude.

 

Arkansasarkansas

The Arkansas Real Estate Commission will not approve a license for anyone who has been convicted of a felony or a crime involving fraud, violence, dishonestly or untrustworthiness.

 

Californiacalifornia department of real estate logo

The following convictions may prevent you from getting a California real estate license: murder, perjury, fraud, forgery, grand theft, tax evasion, embezzlement, extortion, rape, bribery, burglary, petty theft, and possession of drugs for sale or transport.

 

Coloradocolorado division of real estate logo

The Colorado real estate commission makes case by case determinations on who to grant a license to based on criminal history. Obviously, those with minor misdemeanor convictions will be more likely to get a license than those convicted of major felonies.

 

Connecticutconnecticut

Like Colorado, the Connecticut commission will review criminal history on a case-by-case basis. The state will not automatically disqualify anyone from receiving a license.

 

Delawaredelaware seal

If you are applying for a real estate license in the state of Delaware, you must submit information about your conviction which will be reviewed by the authorities. If more than five years have passed since the conviction, a waiver may be granted. You will be unable to get a license if you are incarcerated, on work release or on probation.

 

FloridaFlorida seal

Crimes such as moral turpitude felonies, violent acts against a minor or elder, and sexual assault may disqualify you from getting a Florida real estate license. Lesser crimes like criminal mischief, trespassing, burglary, and the sale of fireworks may be overlooked if enough time has passed since the crime was committed and your record has been clean since they occurred.

 

Georgiageorgia-seal

If you have convicted of a single felony or crime of moral turpitude, you will be unable to get a Georgia real estate license for two years from the completion of your sentence. If you have been convicted of multiple felonies or crimes of moral turpitude, you must wait five years before applying for your license.

 

Hawaiihawaii3

Felony convictions can disqualify you from getting a real estate license. You will also be less likely to be approved for a license if you were convicted of a misdemeanor such as drug abuse, unpaid judgements, tax liens, disciplinary actions against a professional license, or if you are currently on parole or probation.

 

Idahoidaho

The Idaho Real Estate Commission will typically not approve anyone convicted of a felony for a real estate license. However, the applicant make provide a written request for an exemption review. It will also be difficult to get a license if you have been convicted of misdemeanors such as fraud, misrepresentation, and dishonorable dealing.

 

Illinoisillinois licensing logo

More than 95% of applicants will be approved for an Illinois real estate license if they disclose their conviction upon application. However, they will be less likely to be approved if they were convicted of conspiracy to defraud, extortion, forgery, embezzlement, larceny, obtaining money under false pretenses, or a felony involving moral turpitude.

 

Indianaindiana state seal

Indiana will not grant you a real estate license if you have committed a crime that endangered the public, involved lewd or immoral conduct, or if you engaged in behavior that would negatively impact your ability to practice real estate.

 

Iowaiowa

Iowa considers criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis. They will look at the type of crime committed, how long ago the crime happened, if the crime is related to real estate, and the conviction and charge level. Furthermore, most felons will need to wait five years after their conviction before their application is considered by the state.

 

Kansasarkansas

Those who have been convicted of a felony must wait 15 years before applying for a Kansas real estate license. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you must wait five years. However, no license is guaranteed. Applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

 

Kentuckykentucky

If you have been convicted of a felony, you must wait 10 years before applying for a Kentucky real estate license. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you must wait five years. However, even in these cases licenses are not guaranteed. The board will review your application and grant the license based on the seriousness of the crime and how it will affect your ability to work in the real estate field.

 

Louisianalouisiana

Individuals who have been convicted of felonies and misdemeanors may still qualify for a Louisiana real estate license. However, they must fill out a Felony Applicant form and submit it with their license application. Their case will be reviewed based on the seriousness of the offense, the amount of time since the conviction, and how it will relate to their real estate career.

 

Mainemaine-real-estate-commission

If you were convicted of a crime, you must wait three years after completing your sentence to apply for a Maine real estate license. The commission will consider your case based on how long ago the crime occurred, the seriousness of the crime, and whether it would negatively impact your abilities as an agent.

 

Marylandmaryland department of labor logo

A felony or misdemeanor will not disqualify you from obtaining a Maryland real estate license. You will need to submit all records and documentation of the conviction to the commission. They will review it and make a decision on a case-by-case basis.

 

MassachusettsMassachusetts state seal

The Massachusetts real estate board will allow you to get a real estate license if you have a felony or misdemeanor on your record. You will need to submit paperwork to see if you can be granted an exemption.

 

Michiganmichigan licensing logo

If you have been convicted of a crime, you must disclose the details to LARA (the Michigan Department of Licensing a Regulatory Affairs) to be considered for a real estate license. They will review your case an determine whether they will accept or deny your application.

 

Minnesotaminnesota commerce department logo

A criminal record will not prevent you from receiving a Minnesota real estate license. However, if you have prior convictions, you will need to provide written statements and supporting documents along with your application. Your broker will inform you as to whether your license request has been approved or denied.

 

Mississippimississippi

If you have been convicted of a felony, you must appeal to the Mississippi real estate commission for permission to become licensed. You must submit a criminal background history. They will review your case and determine whether you are qualified for licensing.

 

MissouriMissouri state seal

Felons may be eligible for a Missouri real estate license as long as the crime wasn’t directly related to an agent’s responsibilities. You may be disqualified if you were convicted of first-degree murder, dangerous felonies, sex offenses, crimes related to children, fraud, and controlled substance delivery. Applications for less serious crimes may be considered if submitted at least four years after the sentence was completed.

 

Montanamontana

Applicants with a criminal record can still apply for a Montana real estate license. However, they will need to submit relevant documents related to the crime with their application. The application will be forwarded to the Division of Criminal Justice Information Systems and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for consideration.

 

Nebraskanebraska

Decisions to approve felons for a Nebraska real estate license are made on a case-by-case basis. Applicants with a felony conviction will be required to appear before the Commission at an informal hearing to determine if they are approved. Those with multiple misdemeanors and/or a regular pattern of offenses may also have to appear for a hearing before a decision is reached.

 

NevadaNevada real estate division logo

When applying for a Nevada real estate license, you will be asked if you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, forgery, larceny, extortion, fraud, or a crime of moral turpitude.  You will also be asked if you are on parole or probation or paying any restitution. If the answer is yes, you will be asked to provide a written explanation. The Commission will review the explanation to determine how to move forward.

 

New Hampshirenew hampshire

New Hampshire recently passed a law stating that an individual may be disqualified from real estate licensure if they have been convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor. If this is the case, the board will review the offense and determine if the applicant would be more likely to re-offend if they had their license as opposed to if they didn’t have their license and if a re-offense would cause greater harm than it would if the individual did not have a license.

 

New Jerseynew jersey state seal

The New Jersey Real Estate Commission requires applicants to disclose all criminal convictions and pending criminal matters. The agency will review them on a case-by-case basis to determine if the person qualifies for a license.

 

New Mexiconew mexico

New Mexico will only disqualify applicants who have been convicted of a felony and fewer than three years have elapsed since completing their sentence. All other felons that apply will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

North Carolinanorth carolina real estate commission logo

Individuals in North Carolina must disclose all information about past convictions to the board. They will be considered for a license on a case-by-case basis.

 

North Dakotanorth dakota

North Dakota felons who are applying for a real estate license may face issues if they have been convicted of a felony or multiple misdemeanors. If this is the case, they will need to find out if they are eligible for a Certificate of Relief. The individual is likely to qualify if they completed their sentence at least a year ago, have not gotten in trouble since, and do not pose a risk to public safety.

 

Ohioohio real estate commission

The Ohio real estate commission disqualifies people from getting a license if they hold a criminal record for a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, or if they have violated a civil rights law within the last two years. It is possible to have a conviction overlooked by the commission. That decision will be made after the application is completed.

 

Oklahomaoklahoma

Felons looking to get a real estate license in Oklahoma may only do so 20 years after completing a sentence for a violent crime, 10 years after completing a sentence for forgery, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, conspiracy to defraud, and similar offenses, and five years after completing a sentence for other misdemeanors. Once they are eligible, the terms of their conviction will be reviewed before a license is granted.

 

Oregonoregon real estate agency

To apply for an Oregon real estate license, you must disclose all felony and misdemeanor convictions which can range from reckless driving to murder. Each application requiring further review will be evaluated individually.

 

Pennsylvaniapennsylvania real estate commission logo

Real estate license applicants in Pennsylvania may have their application delayed or denied if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. They will need to provide paperwork regarding their conviction which will be reviewed by the commission before a final decision is made.

 

Rhode Islandrhode island

In Rhode Island, any criminal felony as well as incidents of fraud, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, bribery, larceny, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, fraud and other criminal dishonest acts may be grounds for disqualification.

 

South Carolinasouth carolina real estate commission logo

South Carolina may deny issuance of a license if the applicant has been convicted of violating federal and state housing laws, embezzlement, breach of trust, forgery, larceny, obtaining money or property under false pretenses, fraud, conspiracy to defraud, a real estate felony, a financial felony, or a violent offense felony.

 

South Dakotasouth dakota

The South Dakota Real Estate Commission may disqualify you from licensure if you have been convicted of writing insufficient funds checks or a felony or misdemeanor of moral turpitude.

 

Tennesseetennessee state seal

Applicants with felony or misdemeanor convictions involving the theft of money, property or services must appear before the Tennessee Real Estate Committee to be considered for licensure. They must be accompanied by their principal broker during the hearing.

 

Texastexas

There are no crimes that automatically disqualify you from obtaining a Texas real estate license. However, it will be difficult to get your license if the crime you were convicted of demonstrated a lack of honesty, trust, and integrity. Each case will be looked at on an individual basis.

 

Utahutah

In Utah, you will be unable to get your real estate license if you have completed a sentence for a felony within the last five years or if you have completed a sentence for any misdemeanor involving fraud, misrepresentation, theft, or dishonesty within the last three years. Once you are outside of that timeline, you may apply but your application will be subject to review.

 

Vermontvermont

Felons may be disqualified from getting a Vermont real estate license if they were convicted of a felony, forgery, fraud, conspiring to defraud, embezzlement, and obtaining money under false pretenses.

 

Virginiavirginia licensing logo

The Virginia Real Estate Commission will not deny licensure based on a prior criminal conviction unless it negatively affects the felon’s professional abilities as an agent. However, they will review the circumstances of the conviction and may deny a license if they find the person to be unfit or unsuited to engage in the industry.

 

Washingtonwashington licensing logo

You may be disqualified from obtaining a Washington real estate license if you have been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor within the last 10 years, if there is a current criminal charge against you or if you are a registered sex offender. Anyone else with a criminal record will be subject to review before a license is granted.

 

West Virginiawest virginia

Felons applying for a real estate license in West Virginia must disclose their criminal history. This will be reviewed to determine if they are eligible for a license.

 

Wisconsinwisconsin

Applicants for a real estate license must complete a Convictions and Pending Charges Form as part of the application process. They must disclose all criminal history. The Real Estate Commission will review the form and determine if they are eligible for a license.

 

Wyomingwyoming

You may be denied a Wyoming real estate license if you have been convicted of a felony that relates to practice in securities and investing within the past 10 years. More serious crimes may disqualify you as well. All cases will be reviewed, and an outcome will be decided on individually.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 12/29/2023