Finding felon friendly apartments or housing for rent can be a very difficult task, much more so nowadays than it has been in the past. Countless felons are turned down by landlords and property management groups. Poor credit can also make apartment hunting problematic in the least. When you couple poor credit and a criminal background finding an apartment can seem nearly impossible, frustrating and expensive.
Many felons feel like they have paid their debt to society but are continually punished forever when looking for a home or apartment
Felon Friendly Apartments and Housing
Our organization, Help For Felons has come up with some really good ways to find felon friendly apartments and housing. Many websites claim to list housing for felons but we have found that many of those postings and sites are either wildly inaccurate or simply spam in order to make money from advertising.
What we have done instead is to provide you with the tools and knowledge that you need to actually find felon friendly apartments and housing with relative ease. If you use the tips and information listed below you should definitely be able to find a suitable housing to fit your needs if you keep your eyes open.
#1 Don’t waste your time with Property Management Groups
Property management groups are the companies that own large apartment complexes, often many complexes in a specific area. These management groups are very closed minded in regards to renting to felons or anyone with a criminal record. Most property management groups will not consider renting an apartment to a felon under most circumstances and often have blanket policies that keep the door closed to anyone with a criminal record. You can always apply but chances are you will never here back from them once they run your criminal background check. You will end up wasting money on the application fee.
The best chance of you renting an apartment as a felon from a management group is only if your conviction is old, over ten years or more. Often times it still does not matter how old your conviction is!
The best option is to call all of the property management groups in your area ask about their policies regarding criminal records. If you do this you will not waste time and MONEY on application fees.
Craigslist believe it or not is probably the best place to find felon friendly apartments and housing. The reason for this is because most of the advertisers on Craigslist are small time landlords, meaning they only own one or two rental units. Many of them will not even run a background check. If they do utilize criminal background checks you can speak with them face to face to explain your past.
When you go to craigslist select the state that you live in then select the city that is nearest to you. Find the housing section and then you can search for apartments and housing. You can even input your maximum and minimum rent cost.
When browsing through all of the listings look for townhouses, duplexes and single family homes and trailers. Stay away from large apartment complexes that advertise on Craigslist. Most of these will be managed by individuals rather than property management companies.
Any property that you see for rent that is related or managed by a property management group skip looking at, 99 percent of the time they will not even consider you as a tenant.
#3 Use an Apartment and Housing Expert
Rule number 1, do NOT give any of these people money. If they want money it is a scam.
There are people and companies out there that specialize in helping people with felony convictions find apartments and housing. Search google and craigslist for these apartment experts and reach out to them. They will get a kickback from the apartment complex that you lease with, no money will come out of your pocket.
#4 Public Housing Authorities
Housing authorities (also known as HUD) are local government offices in the United States that governs housing within a city or county. They often provide low cost rent/low income or free housing to people in need. This is a great place for you to check out first to see what they have available. Many housing authorities will have housing for felons available for you to move into. If there is no housing or apartments available then at least you can get on their waiting list.
Housing authorities will base you rent off of how much money you make per year. If your income is below the national poverty level then you will be given a discounted rate. If your income is far below the poverty level then you will pay very little or could possibly qualify for free housing. This should not be confused with section 8 HUD housing.
A number of the housing authorities out there will have felon friendly apartments but it is possible that you may have to go through a waiting period. Sometimes this waiting period may range from three, six or twelve months from the time of release or conviction. Each housing authorities policies will vary slightly depending on the state and city that you reside in. Remember that you will want to visit their office as soon as possible in the event that there is a waiting list.
#5 Subletting is a Great Option For Felons
This is a great option to easily find affordable housing quickly when you have a criminal record. Subletting is when you take over someones lease that needs out of the lease. Maybe they need to move for whatever reason but they can’t because they are stuck in a lease. You take over there lease and move in with no background check. The person that is subletting to you is not going to run a criminal record check.
Check on places like craigslist, use the search term “sublet” when looking and you might get lucky.
#6 Long Term Hotels and Motels (Extended Stay)
There are a number of hotels and motels that offer month to month renting options with NO BACKGROUND CHECK at all. Your best bet is to show up to these places and talk to them. Often times extended stay motels are owned by a real person and they will cut you a deal. Econo Lodge’s are often owned by a person that lives in the hotel. Look around and check all the hotels and motels in your area.
#7 Airbnb Rentals and Others
Airbnb has changed the way people find short, medium and long term rentals. Do they rent to felons? Is there a background check? In short, sort of. From what we understand they do not run a background check but check your name and birthday against some public records. Some states make criminal records easily available to public and others do not.
There are also many other companies like Airbnb out there.
#8 Friends and Family
Yes this is kinda lame to put on a list but remember to ask around, talk to people and see if you can find someone that knows a small time landlord.
#9 Rooms For Rent and Roommates
No fun, we know. It is an option though if you have nothing else going for you. Often times you can find someone that has already rented an apartment or house and you can pay rent to them rather than “officially” renting from the apartment complex.
A number of people offer rooms for rent, similar to Airbnb, but will advertise on craigslist rooms for rent.
#10 Government Referrals, Friends and Reentry Organizations
It never hurts to check with other local government offices and officials. Talk to your parole officer and see if they can help you out by giving you a list of felon friendly housing options in your area.
You can also talk with any re-entry programs that are in your area also as they may have some leads for you. Many states also have re-entry information for ex-offenders available from your state’s department of corrections.
Don’t forget to ask friends and family if they know of any places for rent. A personal referral from a trusted person can go a long way in securing a place to live.
#11 Have your felony record expunged
Our article, Felony Expungement and Record Sealing offers a ton of information that could change your life in a great way. Expunging your record will not only allow you to rent anywhere you want but will also make things like finding jobs much easier. Not all states allow expungement/sealing though, you can find out more here.
Having your record expunged is a fancy word for having your criminal record erased. Many people assume that this is very expensive but it is not as much as most people assume in the vast percentage of cases.
#12 Have Someone Rent For You
Have a friend, family member or whoever fill out the application and “rent” the apartment for you. If it is a large complex they will never know.
#13 Money talks louder than you do!
Here we are talking about small time landlords, not the big corporate apartment complexes that will almost NEVER RENT TO FELONS! Landlords rent apartments for only one reason, to make money.
If you can make them feel comfortable, are financially stable and will pay your rent on time you have a better chance of them renting to you. If you can can pay two or three months rent upfront, on the spot with cash they may make a snap decision and rent to you. I know, I know… Most people can’t afford to do this but if it helps one person it’s worth it.
Additional Tips For finding Felon Friendly Apartments and Housing
Below you’ll find some useful information and tips on finding felon friendly housing and apartments.
- Always be honest and upfront that you are a felon IF they are going to run a background check. If someone is going to rent to you they either will or they won’t. If you say nothing and the landlord finds out down the road it will appear as if you were being deceptive.
- If you know for sure that the landlord is not going to run a background check then you can simply not say anything unless they ask.
- Don’t stress and don’t get mad. If you meet with a landlord and they will not rent to you be kind and courteous regardless. You never know what the future holds, you may very well get a call later down the road if they can’t find anyone else to rent to.
- Remember that when people hear the word felon they automatically think you are dangerous and/or violent. Break that stereotype by explaining what and how you made a mistake in the past.
- Make a good first impression. Dress nicely and shake their hand. Ask questions about the property and pay attention to any details that they give you.
We at Help For Felons wish you all the best in finding a nice place to live. If you have questions or comments please leave them below. If you have or know of a felon friendly apartment complex let us know also. Good Luck!