Apartment Living BlogApartment Tips › Leasing an Apartment with a Felony Conviction

DISCLAIMER: Although we do not provide legal advice on this blog, we do aim to answer all concerns and questions users ask.

 

It doesn’t matter how long ago your conviction may of been or what the situation is, if you have some sort of criminal record —a landlord still may deny your application. Although there has been some discussion over this being discrimination, the fact still remains that it can be extremely difficult to find a place to live. This is because landlords are sometimes legally responsible for actions of their residents and a tenant with a record can be unsettling. The “no felony conviction” rental standard is designed to minimize the landlord’s liability risk. That being said, not all landlords will feel this way. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect apartment no matter what your history —because everyone deserves a second chance.

1. Paint yourself as a model tenant

Landlords and property managers have the responsibility of choosing applicants that would complete their tenancy without trouble. Because its is hard for a person to judge or know you just by a short meeting, they must resort to background checks, references and other information. Any applicant, even one with a clean record, can still run into altercations with their lease. If you can prove to your potential landlord that you now make better choices and have an improved character, they may be willing to consider you.

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2. Look into options like expunging your record

For some minor felonies and misdemeanors, you can look into expunging your record —essentially completely erasing your criminal record. Although this isn’t an option for every recorded offense, it’s definitely something to consider. After you ensure that your case is eligible you can find out more about what your state requires to seal or expunge your record. Some states will require a particular application to start the process and you’ll also need copies of your criminal record. Be on time and alert in all your processing and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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3. Look for a private residence

So if you’re struggling to find a place, you know by now that many property management companies won’t budge on their policies. Try looking for a rent by owner situation or a private residence, as they may be more flexible with you.

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4. Search for organizations and programs to help you

If you do a little digging, I’m sure you’ll find a felony friendly organization that can provide you with resources to get you back on your feet. These groups can help you seek employment, get your GED and in this case, find housing. When you reach out to these organization in your area, be sure to give them specific details about your circumstances so they can give you accurate information.

Reentry programs are are designed to help convicted felons return back into society successfully to avoid recidivism and to improve public safety. These programs primarily focus on helping motivated individuals who have paid their debt society to compete for jobs, find stable housing, and contribute to their communities.

5. Ask for references from employers, rehab facilities, or family

Asking someone close to you for a character reference is a great way to show your future property manager your strengths. Along with the letter you should also include contact information so they can verify their statements. Choose someone that knows your true personality and work ethic, that can illustrate your nature. This would make a great addition to your application and prove your seriousness about finding a suitable place to live.

Although finding a place won’t be easy, know that you’re not alone. It’s been reported by that one in four Americans have a criminal record that would show up on a routine background check. So use your resources, reach out to others in a similar situation and surround yourself with people who support you. And while you’re at it, check out this ForRent.com article that goes into more detail about how to deal with renting after a conviction. Keep your chin up and happy apartment hunting!

 

This ForRent.com blog post was updated on April 6th, 2017, by our team to bring more up to date information on the world of renting for our audience.

About :

Hi, all! I'm Maggie, the Assistant Manager of Public Relations and Events here at For Rent. I'm part of an awesome team of fun, creative people that love to get together and think up new ideas and solutions for the multifamily industry. Here at ForRent.com, I write and edit A LOT! Other things I love: reading, Netflix, rain storms, Thai food, beach days with friends and the Georgia Bulldogs.

Comments

  1. Reginold Allison says:
    How are you Maggie? I am interested in getting information regarding felon friendly apartments. I currently reside in Michigan. In a couple of months I will be accepting a new position in the company that I work for. I will need a place to live. My felony conviction is 18 years old, but I’m certain that it will not make a difference. Which is why I am asking for your help. I have not been in any kind of trouble since 1998. I’ve just worked and lived my life. If it’s an affordable townhouse, apartment, or duplex, I would greatly appreciate any and all information regarding these properties that you can assist me with. I would greatly appreciate any assistance that you can provide me. Thank you..
    • Hello, Mr. Allison. We do not actually refer or place people in apartments. We are a resource for you to look for rental housing that appeals to you and meets your needs, and then through us you can directly reach out to those communities in which you have an interest. As to your concern about your previous felony conviction, you should know that in the past several weeks there has begun an evolution as to how many landlords will be viewing long ago convictions. This is an industry “work in progress” and we would be premature in suggesting that it will be easy for you to secure apartment housing, but it may be easier. Based on the nature of your conviction and the date of such, it is possible that some landlords who would have been hesitant to rent to you previously may now be less so (assuming there are not other issues such as previous evictions, insufficient income, poor credit). We wish you the best as you conduct your apartment search and are glad you found us as a resource.

      • Brian Johns says:
        Hi Maggie My name is Brian Johns. I’ve been reading all the comments and am wondering if you can help me with thee same situation so fast as directing me towards a private owner who I can rent from. I stay in Phoenix, Arizona I’m 26 years old, and have a 9 month old son that’s my world if you can help me I would really approximate it thank you!
        • Hello, Brian!
          Thank for reading over the comments and checking out ForRent.com’s Blog! Unfortunately, the only information we have is from people who actually advertise with us. We do not have any clients that are listed as private owners on our site. However, doing an in-depth search online for private owners in your local owner may be your best option. Best of luck on your apartment search Brian!

  2. precious says:
    I am currently searching for a place to stay and i need help asap!!!!!
    • Lea Erbskorn says:

      Hi! We would love to help with your apartment search. In what state/city are you looking for an apartment? Thanks!

      • rowmandices bartholomew says:
        My name is row and I am in Houston, TX. My felony is 1 year old for assault. Can you help me?
        • Hi, Row. Thanks for reaching out to us. First of all, we acknowledge the difficult position you are in and commend you for moving forward. Most large landlords will have limitations on the acceptance of people with previous felony convictions due largely in part because of the liability that landlords face when residents do bad things and people sue and say “the landlord should have known that this person might do this because of their previous criminal background.” You may find better success in the small owner/landlord portfolio. Look for guest houses, garage apartments, rooms for rent, etc. There may be organizations in your area that assist with finding housing for people in your situation (those trying to re-enter our society and begin a new and positive life chapter), but we are not such a resource. We are merely a marketing resource through which landlords share information about their apartments with the public.

      • Peter Freeman says:
        I’m looking in Clearwater Florida. My conviction was from 1983. It was a perjury charge in N.Y.. When I was 23. 56 now. Its never been a problem before. But someone told me I could have a hard time in Florida. Please help me…!?
        • Hi, Peter. Thanks for reaching out to ForRent,com with your question. First of all, we acknowledge the difficult position you are in and commend you for moving forward. Most large landlords will have limitations on the acceptance of people with previous felony convictions due largely in part because of the liability that landlords face when residents do bad things and people sue and say “the landlord should have known that this person might do this because of their previous criminal background.” You may find better success in the small owner/landlord portfolio. Look for guest houses, garage apartments, rooms for rent, etc. There may be organizations in your area that assist with finding housing for people in your situation (those trying to re-enter our society and begin a new and positive life chapter), but we are not such a resource. We are merely a marketing resource through which landlords share information about their apartments with the public. To get you started, however, we have ran a search on a couple of communities​ in Clearwater​ that you may want to reach out to. You can view them​ ​here: https://www.forrent.com/find/FL/metro-Tampa+Bay/Clearwater/price-Less+than+1000 We suggest clicking the orange “Check Availability” button and filling out some brief information. Someone will get back to you shortly. Best of luck with your apartment search!

          Best, The ForRent.com Team

      • Roosevelt says:
        I have a feeling it but it’s over 7 years old and I want to can I find a apartment in Memphis Tennessee to help me I need a place to stay ASAP
      • Saint Paul, MN is where I live. My felony was 20 years ago.
  3. Quan Wilson says:
    I am currently searching for a place to live in columbus ohio.
    I have a felony that is 10 years old. I need a place ASAP I have children please HELP!
    • Hi, Quan. Thanks for reaching out to us. Here are some options in Columbus, Ohio, but we can not be sure if they accept those convicted of felonies or not: https://www.forrent.com/find/OH/metro-Columbus/Columbus/price-Less+than+1000 Your best bet is to find some you are interested in and give them a call to find out more about their policies. There are resources out there for people like yourself looking to rent apartments with felony convictions, but we are not such a resource.

      Best of luck with your search,
      The ForRent.com Team

  4. My husband and I need help finding a place asap!!
  5. Tiffany says:
    Hello I was wondering if amberwood in douglas ga felony friendly.
    • Hi, Tiffany. Unfortunately, we do not filter by which communities are felony-friendly and which are not. If you’re interested in Amberwood, we suggest you give them a call at (912) 384-7001 to find out more about their policies.

      Best,
      The ForRent.com Team

  6. Joe Muchen says:
    Hello, My name is Joe. I currently have a theft conviction from 2015 and the incedent took place 2 years prior. I am looking to get into something no later than the 8th of July. For myself, my wife, and my daughter.
    • Even under the best of circumstances, it would be unlikely that you would be able to get through the application process and get approved to move in within the week. And unfortunately, with a felony conviction only last year, you are not in the best of circumstances, and that decreases your odds of application qualification. That is because a landlord’s interest is best served by not renting to people who have harmed others or property, because of the liabilities the landlord incurs. That being said, some landlords will look to the specifics of the “story” behind what someone was convicted of. So ask a potential landlord if they will discuss the back story with you if you believe your particular scenario does not make you a risk to others if you were to be a resident.

  7. Deonte Anderson says:
    I have a conviction from 2008.Make about $2000 a month.I live in Chicago… I having a hard time finding an apartment…
  8. Angela Gaddy says:
    I’m a mother of 4 children who has fallen in love with a man that had received 2 felony charges clear back in 1997 6 months a part. Now we are engaged and desperately looking for a place to live and no one will even see past his criminal record even though it was so long ago I’m finally happy and now there’s this bump in the road. If anyone knows of any kid friendly places to live that would except an old felony charge in Washington state please help
    • Hi, Angela. Thank you for reaching out to ForRent.com with your question. First of all, congratulations. You seem very happy. Unfortunately, we do not filter by apartment communities that do and do not accept renters with past felony charges. As you have come to see, most multifamily apartment community management and owners will not accept your fiance as a resident. That being said, your fiance may wish to explore two ideas. The first would be to contact an organization that helps ex-convicts who are on the right track and trying to re-enter society find housing. They are well aware of the housing challenges faced by those who have a past criminal record but want to begin a new chapter in their lives, so they may have contacts within the housing industry to assist your fiance in finding a landlord who would accept him. We are, however, unfortunately not such a resource. We simply provide advertising for apartment communities. The second idea would be to look into finding an apartment, guest house, a room, etc. with a private landlord (i.e. someone who wants to rent out their home or condo but who is not in the larger business of multifamily housing); with an income verification from his employer, and some good character references, your fiance may find that a private landlord would accept him as a resident.

  9. Jessenia Leon says:
    Hello, I’m trying to search for an apartment for myself and my 2 children. My husband is incarcerated, but when he comes home he’s going to be living with us. He will be a felon, so on probation and all, he will need to be on the lease. I need help searching for apartments that will accept felons.
    • Jessenia, thank you for reaching out to ForRent.com with your question. We are simply an advertising source for apartment communities and we do not filter by apartment communities that do and do not accept renters with past felony charges. That is something that you will have to call individual communities about. Remember to always be up front about the situation so as not to waste your time or the time of the property manager. As you have come to see, most multifamily apartment community management and owners will not accept your husband as a resident because of his criminal background. You may find better success in the small owner/landlord portfolio. Look for guest houses, garage apartments, rooms for rent, etc. There may be organizations in your area that assist with finding housing for people in your situation (those trying to re-enter our society and begin a new and positive life chapter), but we are not such a resource. We are merely a marketing resource through which landlords share information about their apartments with the public.

  10. Dominique says:
    Hi my name is Dominique I am concerned a felon now since March of 2016.. my kids was taken last year and I was in process of getting them back this month when the landlord place me back in a 3 be but due to being a felon on housing my landlord states I can no longer be a tenant. I need help I stay in little Rock AR n my felon was endangered the welfare of a minor. I want a place n my children back
  11. Hey my name is bryant im in sreach of a apartment i look everywhere but since i got a felony nobody will deal with me im find of help
    • Hello Bryant! Please look forward to a special piece dedicated to this topic. Once finalized and updated on the site I will be sure to direct you to it. Stay tuned!

  12. Melissa Alvarado says:
    Hello , i have a felony that is 12 years old . I am going through a seperation at this time and find it is jard to find an apartment with a felony on my background. Can you help me out please?
    • Hello Melissa, please look forward to a special piece dedicated to this topic. Once finalized and updated on the site I will be sure to direct you to it. Stay tuned!

  13. Dominique says:
    Why don’t you reply to my message…I was suppose to get my kids the first of this month but now the apt I say in that’s base on income say they can no longer rent to me cause I’m a convicted felon but I learned today it’s Ppl staying here that are felonies as well that aren’t over 10years old what can I do?
    • Hello Dominique,

      Thank you for your response and effort shown to move in the best interest of you and your family. One thing you must keep in mind is that every person’s situation is different. Some legal cases could have been expunged or sealed which would result in better qualifications as a tenant. This may not be ideal for everyone however it is something that you should keep in mind. The best bet for you would be to only consider your own case and not to worry about anyone else’s. As a reminder, I am not a lawyer. Consider, being honest with the landlord about your past and showing them how you have taken the right steps to be the best example for your children and the community. If you are still denied a dwelling at this property. Move on to those that will consider you. You have to be relentless in your search You can not just stop at one. Consider a private residence if possible. That way you can avoid the dense terms and conditions that felons are often faced with. Also, look into organizations and nonprofits that assist with felons needing housing. They ae filled with information and resources that can help you. Hope this helps and major luck with your apartment search!

  14. Susan price says:
    Hey looking for a apartment in Richmond va area I have a felon its been five year looking for a apartment that’s felon friendly if there any in my area credit card fraud
    • Hello Susan! I’m sorry that you have had to deal with credit card fraud in searching for a place to rent. Check out this link Apartments in Richmond to find over 400 apartments in Richmond that could meet your rental needs. You will need to reach out to those that strike your interest. Ask the necessary questions to move your application along. Be open and transparent and prepared. You never know what can happen! Good luck with your apartment search!

  15. Darius Hood says:
    Hello my name is Darius Hood. I am looking for housing in the Chesapeake Virginia area and I have a felony conviction from 2007. Any advice?
    • Hello Darius! I know that it has to be difficult to find an apartment with a conviction but the information here can certainly give you more insight. All the best!

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