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How Do I Find Rental Housing With a Felony?
- 1 How Do I Find an Apartment With a Felony?
- 2 Can a Criminal Background Stop You From Getting an Apartment?
- 3 Criminal History Policy for Low-Income Housing
- 4 Where Can I Find Low-Income Apartments & Homes That Don’t Do Credit & Background Checks?
Finding a place to rent and live with a felony on your record might be challenging. Landlords who run credit or background checks might not want to rent to someone they feel could become a nuisance to the property or area. However, you can find rental housing by utilizing local resources and government programs.
Prepare a Thorough Rental Application
There isn’t anything you can do to erase the felony from your background. If landlords do background checks, they will know, so be honest about it. At the same time, make sure you have all the other components of your application in order. Landlords want tenants who pay rent on time, aren’t doing illegal activities and won’t damage the property. They don’t want complaints from neighbors. Prepare your income and bank statements for verification. Have the required deposit, and even offer to provide an extra month of rent in advance. Write a letter of explanation about the felony and what you have learned from the experience that shows you aren’t going down that road again. While this isn’t a guarantee of approval, it does show that you are organized and responsible.
Help from HUD
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers low-income and free housing programs for those in need. Contact your local HUD Public Housing Agency to see what community programs exist in your area. HUD also maintains a felon-friendly list of rentals. This is a good place to start searching for a place to live.
Online Rental Ads
Craigslist and Backpage are two want-ad websites where landlords can advertise rental properties. These are usually owner-landlords who are more flexible in rental terms than rental agencies or management companies. Find rentals within your price range and discuss the terms with the landlord. Have your application package ready and be professional when meeting the landlord.
Family and friends might be the best resource to help. These are the people who can vouch that you have learned from the felony and are a better person. Ask family and friends if they know anyone who has a property for rent. If you have any handy skills, offer those to assist a landlord with upkeep, making you a more attractive tenant.
It is actually against the law for a landlord to deny your application solely on the ground of the felony conviction. That being said, smart landlords know this law and won’t tell you that is the reason for denying the application. This is why having the rest of your application package prepared is essential. If you feel you were discriminated against for the felony, contact your local HUD representative to find out what options exist.